Cosafa backs fixture
Malawi women’s football team bitter
National Women’s Football Association Chairperson, Suzgo Ngwira, has bemoaned the manner in which Malawi exited Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Women’s Championship in South Africa on Tuesday.
However, Cosafa Vice General Secretary, Suzgo Nyirenda, has defended the deciding fixtures which Ngwira felt should have been played on the same day and at the same time.
“We have learnt a lot of lessons. We will write Cosafa that we could have loved it if all the deciding games were played at once. Maybe the result could have been different but it has happened, we just need to forge ahead,” she said.
Malawi were hoping that either Zambia or Botswana would win to qualify as the best loser.
However, the two settled for a goalless draw which eventually blew away Malawi’s chances of reaching the semi-finals.
Ngwira said Malawi’s performance was encouraging and the only blemish on the She-Flames campaign was the manner in which fixtures were drawn.
“I am very happy with the girls and the team. They gave their all and there is a bright future for Malawi women’s football,” she said.
She-Flames Coach, Abel Mkandawire, said he was impressed with the team’s performance.
“It was a very good tournament. We have seen our girls improving yet we were without Tabitha and Temwa [Chawinga]. We have seen some girls showcasing their talent. We have a very good team and it shows that our team can perform. We scored 16 goals in three games and this is not a joke,” he said.
Malawi beat Madagascar 2-0 in their first game before losing to hosts South Africa 3-1 then thrashing Comoros Islands 13-0.
However, Nyirenda, Wednesday said fixtures which the association had been using in the last two editions take into account the point that last group matches should be played on the same day and at the same time.
“That happened as all games for Group A, that included Malawi, were played on the same day and at the same time. This also applied to Group C. However, matches for Group B were played a day later considering that we only use two stadia for the competition,” Nyirenda said.
“The best way for Malawi was to fight and win all their matches to avoid other teams to determine their fate. Again the matter was never brought to us earlier until [we forgot] the result which affected Malawi’s participation. I do understand that everyone wants to excel and go far in tournaments and that is why thorough preparations are key.”
During the game against Botswana, Zambia striker Rachel Nanchula missed a penalty in bizarre circumstances to condemn Malawi, who finished their Group A games on six points, out of the competition.
The draw saw Botswana and Zambia sail through to the semi-finals on seven points each.
Botswana sailed through as the second best loser across the three four-member groups, joining South Africa and Zimbabwe who finished as leaders of their pools.