- Chiamaka Nnadozie’s outstanding saves secured 1-0 win for Nigeria over Haiti
- Goalkeeper was key player for her team
- “We fought until the very end”
There is a fine line between success and failure, and often all it takes is one player to make the difference.
That much was evident as the Haiti players sank to the ground, unable to disguise their disappointment, while on the other side of the pitch the Nigerians celebrated a victory that kept their hopes of reaching the quarter-finals alive.
They did so in large part thanks to goalkeeper Chiamaka Nnadozie, who kept Haiti at bay with several superb saves. Melchie Dumonay in particular will not forget Nnadozie any time soon, having been denied on a number of occasions.
“It was a very tough game,” the towering goalkeeper told FIFA.com. “They were strong, but we’re strong as well. We played according to our coaches’ instructions and we did all we could. We fought until the end, were able to withstand the pressure and at the end of the match we won. I’m so happy.”
And with good reason. Her outstanding performance led to the FIFA Technical Study Group (TSG) handing her the “Dare to Shine” Player of the Match award at the final whistle, while her team-mates also showed her their appreciation.
“After the match everybody came to me and they were very, very happy,” she said. “It was so great. They came to me, hugged me and told me how well I did. They encouraged me.”
That should give Nnadozie plenty of confidence ahead of Nigeria’s decisive match against China PR. Given the Africans’ superior goal difference a draw would be enough for them to reach the next round, but the goalkeeper, who dons her gloves for Rivers Angels in her homeland, is well aware it will be no easy task.
“We have the same amount of points as China, so it’s going to be a tough match,” she said. “It’s the final match in the group stage, so we have to try our best and give everything we have. This is the final fight.”
It will be intriguing to see just who Nnadozie might stop this time.