Malawi Women’s National Football Team, the Scorchers, will likely be without captain Tabitha Chawinga and her sister Temwa for the Cosafa Cup due to club commitments.
Scorchers coach Thom Mkolongo named a 32-member provisional squad that regroups today in Lilongwe ahead of the Cosafa Women’s Championship slated for August 31- September 11, Gqeberha, South Africa.
Mkolongo has included the Wuhan strikers for the tournament but it will take something special to convince the Chinese club to release the two players outside the Fifa International window.
In a brief interview from China Sunday, Tabitha said she was not sure of her availability.
“The league is on break but is expected to resume in October. We are not sure if we will be released for the Cosafa Cup,” Tabitha said.
This will be the second consecutive year for the Chawinga sisters to miss the regional showpiece due to club commitments.
However, Mkolongo and his first assistant Andrew Chikhosi were not available Sunday.
However, gangling striker Fazila Chiyembekeza, who is playing for Rivers Angels in Nigeria and Simba SC striker Sabina Thom are both available for the Cosafa Cup.
Mkolongo has also included Lusaka Dynamos duo of defenders Chimwemwe Madise, Patricia Nyirenda, vice-captain Madyina Ngulube and multitalented Asimenye Simwaka.
Goalkeeper Samir Amidu has been dropped but Mercy Sikelo and Ruth Nyirongo are also in the squad.
National Women’s Football Association (NWFA) Chairperson Suzgo Ngwira said they are keeping fingers crossed on the availability of Chawinga sisters.
“We know that Cosafa Cup is not on Fifa Calendar so we will try to negotiate with their club,” Ngwira said.
The Scorchers have been drawn in Group C alongside holders Tanzania, Botswana and Comoros Islands.
Group A comprises South Africa, Angola, Mauritius and Mozambique whereas Group B has Zambia, Namibia, eSwatini and Lesotho.
Winners in each group will advance to the semifinals and they will be joined by overall best runners-up.
Last year, Malawi finished as runners-up after losing 1-0 to Tanzania.