By Mphatso Malidadi:
Malawi women’s national football team hopes to make a blistering start to the 2020 Tokyo Olympics campaign when hosting their Mozambican counterparts at Kamuzu Stadium this afternoon.
She-Flames Coach, Abel Mkandawire, has promised to unleash China-based goal-poacher Tabitha Chawinga and her younger sister Temwa, who plies her trade in Sweden, to enhance the team’s chances of progressing to the next round.
Mozambique will host the return leg next week, with the overall winner set to date Kenya in one but last qualifying round.
“We need to attack and win the game right here. We need speed and to attack with a purpose. So, the two are definitely starting because we are at home. We need to get the goals. Of course, we will attack cautiously to avoid being caught off-guard,” Mkandawire said.
Tabitha has started this season on an impressive note, scoring 12 goals for Chinese side, Jiangsu Suning, in cup games.
Last season, she was also a top goal-scorer in the Chinese Women’s League with 17 goals whereas Temwa banged in 21 goals for Kvarnsvedens IK in Sweden to finish as second top goal-scorer.
The sisters will lead Malawi attack, having last featured in the team at the 2017 Cosafa Championship which took place in Zimbabwe.
However, Malawi will miss the services of DD Sunshine midfielder, Chikondi Gondwe, who suffered a knee injury, but Mkandawire believes he has enough arsenal to deliver.
“She was in our plans but we can’t risk her because we want all the players to be firing from all cylinders, so Chikondi won’t be involved,” he said.
Tabitha has since urged supporters to rally behind the team.
“We are playing at home and, as players, we want to deliver a positive message about women’s soccer. So, we need supporters to come in large numbers,” she said.
Claudi Makapa is coaching the Mozambican outfit which also struggled at last year’s Cosafa Cup in South Africa.
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