Goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi provided the last act of the 2018 Total Women Africa Cup of Nations (AWCON) on Saturday as her penalty heroics once again proved decisive as Nigeria clinched the continental title for the ninth time.
Oluehi whose stop against Cameroon’ Gaelle Enngenamouit was crucial to Nigeria’s success in the semi-final once again saved South Africa’s fifth and last penalty of the dramatic final at the Accra Sports Stadium to seal Nigeria’s win.
The Rivers Angels vice-captain has since become the toast of millions of Nigerian football fans who were extremely pleased with not just her penalty heroics but her overall confidence, poise and panache at which she went through her task in Ghana.
Is this Cameroonian goalkeeper running down the clock?
Has she been told that Nigerian goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi saves at least two spot kicks in every five kicks she face? Okay now. #TotalAwcon18
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) November 27, 2018
Unknown to many however, Oluehi is no stranger to saving spot kicks. Ardent followers of the Nigerian Women Premier League (NWPL) must have at one time or the other witnessed a penalty saving performance from the 31-year old goalkeeper.
Here, we provide a timeline on her last five heroics – including the two at Ghana 2018 – during which she has now won three trophies.
5. September 24, 2017 (AITEO Cup quarter final)
Rivers Angels and Edo Queens were inseparable over two legs in the quarter final games of Nigeria’s Cup competition. Both teams played 0-0, first in Port Harcourt and four days later in Benin.
Oluehi then came to her team’s rescue, saving the hosts’ first two spot kicks with the third fired wide. Her team won 3-0 on penalties.
Odoma Amarachi takes for Edo, Oluehi stops
— Rivers Angels FC (@Rivers_Angels) September 24, 2017
4. October 18, 2017 (AITEO Cup final)
Goalkeeper Tochukwu Oluehi saved two spot kicks as defending champions Rivers Angels defeated neighbours Ibom Angels 3-0 on penalties to win the AITEO Cup in Jos on Wednesday.
Both teams fought out a 1-1 draw in regulation time and just like the men’s final on Sunday, the lottery of penalties was required to decide who wins the competition for the first time under new sponsor, AITEO.
— Fisayo Dairo (@FisayoDairo) October 18, 2017
After having saved the first two, the third Ibom Angels player fired wide to seal victory for Oluehi’s team.
See full story: Oluehi the hero as Rivers Angels lift AITEO Cup
3. March 4, 2018 (NWFL Champions Shield)
Rivers Angels goalkeeper Oluehi Tochukwu made two saves to deny Nasarawa Amazons the chance of tasting victory just as Amazons goalkeeper denied Angels’ Chinaza Uchendu’s spot kick from going past her, keeping the scoreline at 3-3.
Uju Joseph then grabbed the opportunity to grant her team victory when she converted to give Angels a 4-3 win, crowning Edwin Okon’s ladies as Champions of the 2018 NWFL Champions Shield.
4. November 27, 2018 (AWCON semi-final)
Nigeria’s Super Falcons struggled against a physical and resilient Cameroonian side in the semi-final game in Accra. The game ended goalless after regulation and extra time setting the tone for penalty shootout.
During the spot kicks, Oluehi ‘did her thing’. Stopping Gaelle Enganamouit’s kick and closely following Ngo Mbeleck’s effort till it ricocheted off the outside of the left hand post and to safety. Those moments announced her to many who were oblivious of her exploits.
5. December 1, 2018 (AWCON final)
The real deal. After a pulsating 120 minutes, Nigeria and South Africa finished a game in a stalemate for the first time in AWCON history. The Super Falcons also lost a penalty during the regulation time through their reigning African Women’s Footballer of the Year Asisat Oshoala.
It came down to penalties again and nerves went up among Nigerians when co-captain Onome Ebi missed the first spot kick but South Africa’s Lebohang Ramalepe ballooned her team’s second kick over, with Oluehi saving the last – Linda Motlhalo’s spot kick to give Nigeria the win.
Such heroics crowned what she had quietly built as a special talent – the art of stopping spot kicks.