Just over a week ago, Haiti became one of three nations to secure the last places at the FIFA Women’s World Cup, which will take place later this year in Australia and New Zealand.
This will be the women’s team's first appearance at a World Cup and will be the nation’s first appearance since the men reached the 1974 World Cup.
The journey to World Cup qualification has not been a straightforward one. Haiti competed in the inter-confederation play-off tournament after their third-place finish in their group at the CONCACAF Women’s Championship in July 2022.
The inter-confederation play-off tournament entailed two matches against Senegal and Chile, which took place in February in Auckland.
Haiti overcame their first test, beating Senegal convincingly 4-0. A tougher test in Chile awaited. One game away from the World Cup, Haiti beat the odds and a goal in the 8th minute of extra time was enough to secure a dramatic 2-1 win.
Haiti are a talented side that has been described as a “golden generation” and has an average age of just 22.
One of the brightest stars amongst the squad is 19-year-old Melchie Dumornay. The midfielder currently plays her football with the French side Reims. In January 2023 it was announced that she had signed a pre-contract with eight-time Champions League winners Lyon.
She will join on a three-year contract following the World Cup. The midfielder has been considered one of the most promising talents in football and in 2022 she was awarded the NXGN best teenage player in the world award.
It hasn’t just been a challenge for the national team on the pitch. Off the pitch, Haiti have had to overcome adversity in the midst of rising gang violence, electrical shortages, and political instability, alongside recovering from a devastating earthquake in 2021.
The events away from the pitch undoubtedly provided extra motivation, and prior to the play-off tournament midfielder Danielle Etienne said, “there’s a lot of unhappiness in the country and football is the joy”.
Haiti will once again be given the status of underdogs at the World Cup, as they have to navigate their way through a tough group as they have been placed in group D alongside, England, China and Denmark.
They will make their World Cup debut against current European Champions, England, in Brisbane on the 22nd of July.