Chelsea defender Dunia Susi has been confirmed by Team GB as the replacement for Ifeoma ‘Iffy’ Dieke who has had to leave the camp after suffering a serious knee injury.
Dieke’s Olympic dreams ended on Saturday when she ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament in the second half of Team GB’s 3-0 win over Cameroon in Cardiff.
The 31-year-old was clearly in pain as she was stretchered off at the Millennium Stadium and Powell said a scan had revealed the extent of the injury.
‘She was very upset, very disappointed, didn’t want to leave,’ Powell told the press at Wembley today. ‘But unfortunately the nature of the injury means she’s had to be sent home.’
The popular defender, who grew up in Cumbernauld in Scotland, came into Team GB with an impressive CV that included spells with Atlanta Beat, Chicago Redstars and Boston Breakers in the US, plus 90 caps for Scotland.
She currently plays with Swedish side Vittsjo GIK and, after winning player of the match plaudits in Team GB’s goalless friendly against Sweden on 20 July, had gone on to become a key player in their unbeaten Olympic run.
Powell told She Kicks that Dieke’s replacement, the 24-year-old Susi, was ‘an out and out defender’ who is quick, fit and improving and would slot in well.
She added that Susi was upset to know that she was coming into the squad on the back of Dieke’s devastating injury, but professional enough to take on the job in hand.
‘She felt really, really sorry for Iffy, just distraught for her,‘ Powell told us. ‘But she recognises that you now are part of the squad, you have to focus on the football.
‘It’s just sad that it’s happened that way, that the opportunity has been given to her because somebody else has been injured but as I said it is the nature of sport.’
The head coach said Dieke had said her farewells to the squad on Sunday and had wished everyone well.
‘When it all settled down, I think the realisation is that injuries do happen in sport and in football,’ added Powell.
‘Players are used to that, it’s not nice, we don’t like it and it’s very, very unfortunate for her but that’s why you have substitutes because unfortunately these things do happen in the game.
‘The girls yesterday said their goodbyes and she was very positive, wished everybody well and I know they’re in touch.’