Super Falcons goalkeeper, Chiamaka Nnadozie has revealed how ‘fear and shock’ nearly cost her debut at the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup in France.
On the anniversary of that fateful day in Stade Des Alpes, Grenoble, France, the now 20-year-old told ACLSportsPOD that news of her debut in France came as a “shock and surprise” to her.
Following Nigeria’s 2-0 loss to tournament hosts, France in their opener, Nnadozie, then 18, was handed a starting berth in a must-win crucial second game against Asian giants, South Korea.
That call was a rather unexpected one according to the youngster, who was expecting to continue her place on the bench.
“In the meeting with coaches, after the post-match analysis (of the France defeat), it was a surprise and I was not expecting it (the list).”
“Normally, they (coaches) don’t call the names – they post a list and you look at it. So, (when) I heard my name, i was shocked, scared and thought it was a mistake. It was unexpected.”
Still in shock, Nnadozie spoke to two of her teammates, Ngozi Okobi and Desire Oparanozie, who tried to inspire their younger teammate ahead of the all-important game.
“I can’t do this, it is not possible,” she told them.
Nnadozie’s start may have come as a shock to her, but she showed none of that on the pitch as she went on to keep a clean sheet against Korea, becoming the youngest goalkeeper in FIFA Women’s World Cup history to achieve that feat.
The former Rivers Angels star went on to lead Nigeria to the quarter-finals, making a total of 11 saves.
But despite her surprise and inspirational words from her teammates, her personal resolve and determination have always been a key factor in what has been a meteoric rise.
“I always prepare myself ahead of time, no matter what’s coming,” she added.
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