Chiamaka Nnadozie: Rising from Striker to Top Goalkeeper, One Save at a Time

By Aisha Kabiru Mohammed | Sep 6, 2023

Chiamaka Nnadozie is a goalkeeper for both the Nigeria women's national football team and Paris FC in the French Division 1 Féminine. She is regarded as one of the top goalkeepers in the world and the best in Africa.

Chiamaka Cynthia Nnadozie was born on 8th December 2000. She started playing football with her brothers as early as six years old. She started playing professional football as a striker rather than a goalie. There was only one goalkeeper when we played an under-15 team in a practice game versus the boys. There was a 13-2 deficit. The goalkeeper was worn out, so she made the decision to aid her by going there. 

At the beginning of the 2016 campaign, Nnadozie signed with the Rivers Angels. Nnadozie played a key role in the Rivers Angels' 2019-2020 Season NWPL championship. She signed an 18-month contract with French team Paris FC on January 22, 2020. Soon after the U-20 Tournament, she was also chosen for the 2018 Africa Women's Cup of Nations, where she sat out all five games. The following year, at the 2019 Women's WAFU Cup, she was the Super Falcons' goalkeeper for their impressive performance. 

Nnadozie was selected to play for the senior national team at the age of 19 in preparation for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup in France. Nnadozie became the youngest goalie to record a clean sheet at the World Cup while playing as Nigeria's starting goalkeeper in the team's 2-0 victory over Korea. Nnadozie once more assisted the Falconets in winning the gold medal at the African Games in Morocco following the World Cup by saving three penalties against Cameroon in the shootout. 

She was added to the 23-person Nigerian team for the FIFA Women's World Cup 2023 on June 16, 2023.  Nnadozie led the Super Falcons against Olympic champions Canada in the opening match of the Women's World Cup. She made three saves, one of which was a penalty kick by Christine Sinclair in the 50th minute. Her contributions to the game helped the Super Falcons avoid a loss, helped her win Player of the Match, and attracted notice from across the world. 

In 2019 against South Korea, Nnadozie made history by becoming the youngest woman to keep a clean sheet at a World Cup finals.

Nigeria's being in the 2023 Women's World Cup may be attributed to her penalty save in the World Cup opener against Canada. That save, both a goalless tie and after 10 days, Nigeria advanced as runners-up, one point ahead of the Olympic champions, thanks to that save that resulted in a goalless tie.

Nnadozie, who frequently makes the annual FIFA Best long list, is a desirable target for some of the top clubs in the globe because of her exuberant performance at the Globe Cup. 

Nnadozie participated in all four games of the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup. She performed well against Haiti, earning the "Dare to Shine" Player of the Match award.  In an interview with the Guardian, Nadozie talks about how her proud parents have not always supported her. Her father was not always so encouraging of her decision to play football.

“It is thanks to my mum that I have a career. She really stood by me. Sometimes, when I went to play football, she had to tell lies to my dad that she had sent me on an errand, so he would not know I was playing. Not every mum would do what she has done so that I can play football. I really appreciate her” She said in the interview.

“My father is my big fan now. Whenever I am playing, he will call his friends and tell them. I am happy I proved him wrong. His statement was always that ‘women don’t play football’. He now knows women can play football and achieve anything in life.”

HIDDEN - to trigger update. rm later