Abel Mkandawire’s desire

Malawi face defending champions South Africa in 2nd match


By Mabvuto Kambuwe, In Port Elizabeth, RSA:

Malawi national women’s football team Coach, Abel Mkandawire, faces a real test when his charges take on hosts and defending champions South Africa at the on-going Cosafa Senior Women’s Championship at Isaac Wolfson Stadium this afternoon.

Both teams registered victories in their opening games of the tournament on Wednesday at the same venue.


The She-Flames defeated Madagascar 2-0 but South Africa registered an emphatic 17-0 victory over debutants Comoros Islands.

For this reason, morale is certainly high in both camps ahead of the clash as they look forward to sealing a place in the last four.

Malawi go into the match as underdogs following South Africa’s impressive form, which saw them qualify for this year’s World Cup finals in France.


Mkandawire and his troops would be looking to settle last year’s scores when the She- Flames lost 6-0 to South Africa at the same stage to exit the tournament.

But the Malawi mentor said his charges are geared to cause an upset.

“We are not scared at all. South African players are human beings just like my players. They are not from another planet. We will play to enjoy the game and frustrate them so that they do not get space on the field,” he said.

Mkandawire is likely to ring changes to the starting line-up.

Veteran striker Linda Kasenda is likely to start alongside Asimenye Simwaka, with Sabina Thom and Wezzie Mvula operating from the wings.

At the back, Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda will partner Patricia Nyirenda, with Maureen Phiri and Chimwemwe Madise playing as wing backs.

After the game against Comoros, South Africa Coach Desire Ellis said her troops were aiming at lifting the title for the third consecutive year.

Ellis is also likely to make changes after resting some of her stars in the opening match.

The hosts will rely on leading goal-scorer Rafloe Jane (four goals) and Amanda Mthandi who found the net three times against Comoros. The match kicks off at 03:30pm.

The overall winner in each group and the best loser will advance to the semi-finals.

For two consecutive years, the She-Flames have failed to progress to the last-four stage.

Both Malawi and South Africa are using the tournament as part of preparations for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifiers. The She Flames will face Kenya later this month.

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