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TRUE! Onome Ebi is Africa’s first player to appear in six World Cup tournaments at 40

CLAIM: Super Falcons veteran Onome Ebi is the first African to appear in six World Cup tournaments at 40.

TRUE! Onome Ebi is Africa’s first player to appear in six World Cup tournaments at 40

VERDICT: TRUE. Open source data shows Onome Ebi is the only African player to have graced six World Cup tournaments at 40.

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A Facebook user, Seraph Yomi, shared a post asserting that Super Falcon’s centre defender, Onome Ebi, is the first African player to have appeared in six World Cup tournament outings at 40.

“At 40. Veteran #NGN defender Onome Ebi becomes the first African player – man and woman– to appear at the World Cup (s)ix times,” he posted.

This is coming on the heels of the ongoing Women’s World Cup tournament in Australia and New Zealand, with over 32 countries, including Nigeria’s Super Falcons, who have now crashed out of the tournament after a round-of-16 stage loss from England’s Lionesses in a 4-2 penalty shoot-out. 

Ebi, who wears the captain’s band and steers her fellow Falcons on the field of play, once told British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) that having the chance to play at the Women’s World Cup tournament for the sixth time feels “unreal.” 

The home-based player made her first international appearance at the World Cup in 2003, at the age of 20 and will go on to play in 2007, 2011, 2015, 2019, and 2023 tournaments which Nigeria qualified for.

The post with this assertion drew diverse reactions, including 71,000 likes, 1,500 thousand comments, and 435 shares beyond the platform. 

In the comment section, John Park wrote, “Good job. Congratulations,” while Inemo Ikamo wrote, “She has integrity. She has refused to fake her age. She’s not (p)lus ONE but forty!! Bless your honesty.” 

Following the excitement the post created, DUBAWA thought it necessary to investigate the claim.


We decided to check for the African countries with the most appearances in the World Cup tournament, both in the male and female categories. 

Cameroon has appeared eight times in the male category, and Nigeria, Morocco, and Tunisia have appeared six times. Ghana comes behind the group, qualifying only four times.

We learnt that Roger Miller is the oldest player to have played for Cameroon, at 42, and made appearances in the world cup only three times. Mohammed Lawal is Nigeria’s oldest player to have retired at 42 and is only linked to the men’s tournament in the 1968 Olympics games. 

Morocco’s Jalili Fadili retired from international football at 49 and played for Morocco at the World Cup tournament once in 1970. Haj Hannachi made his last appearance for Tunisia at the age of 57 and has only played two international friendlies and Confederation Africaine de Football (CAF) once for Tunisia. 

But for the female category, Nigeria has exceedingly dominated the chart of World Cup African qualifiers, as it has participated nine times. That is three times less for Ghana, who trail Nigeria, having participated three times. At the same time, Cameroon has seen itself in the tournament only twice.

Despite a lack of public statistics for the ages of Nigerian female players, further findings from credible news sources, such as  Central News Network (CNN), Punch, and Daily Sports, have all adjudged Ebi as the only African player to lead the golden oldies by participating in her sixth world cup tournament at the age of 40.

BBC has also reported Ebi as making up the five who have appeared at the World Cup tournament six times. While Ebi (40), Canada’s Christine Sinclair (40), and Brazil’s Marta Vieira da Silva (37) are participating in the ongoing tournament in Australia and New Zealand, Homare Sawa (37) represented Japan in the 2015 tournament, for the sixth and final time. 

Meanwhile, Brazilian living legend Miraildes Mota (popularly known as Formiga) played in seven World Cup tournaments between 1995 and 2019 before she hung up her boots at age 43

Finally, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) put on its website a report concerning Ebi as the “first player from the continent to play in six World Cups” if she appears in the tournament this year.


The assertion is true. In open source data, Ebi has been adjudged locally and internationally as participating in her sixth world cup tournament and as the only African player to do so.

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