The Haitian national football team defeated Chile 2-1 to secure the country’s first appearance at a FIFA Women’s World Cup.
Melchy Dumornay scored twice during Wednesday’s game to ensure Haiti, the 55th-ranked, joins England, China, and Denmark in Group D of the 2023 Women’s World Cup.
Ahead of the ten-team qualifier in New Zealand, midfielder Danielle Etienne told ESPN: “There is much unhappiness in the country and football is a joy.”
Haiti has been plagued by a series of crises, with the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in 2021 adding to insecurity in the country amid a spate of natural disasters.
Recently, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights called on the international community to consider sending a specialized force into the country to restore order amid reports of killings, rapes and looting by influential gangs that control large parts of the country became.
Haiti is the first of three teams to qualify for the finals during the Intercontinental Qualifiers.
Portugal meet Cameroon in Group A qualifiers later on Wednesday and Paraguay meet Panama on Thursday to claim the final places in the 32-team tournament hosted by Australia and New Zealand.
The Haitian players shed tears of joy when the final whistle blew. They had beaten Senegal 4-0 in the opening game.
Playmaker Dumornay, who recently signed for seven-time Champions League winners Lyon, won the run with a through ball in first-half injury time to put Haiti 1-0 up at half-time.
And she scored another goal eight minutes after the 11th minute, added by the referee after Chile captain Christian Endler saved Nerelia Mondesire’s penalty attempt.
But María José Rojas scored in the 11th minute of added time to keep Chile’s hopes alive – making the final moments of the game unnerving.