President Lazarus Chakwera Tuesday gave a token of appreciation to the Malawi National Women’s Football Team, the Scorchers, for finishing as runners-up during the Cosafa Women’s Championship in South Africa.
Chakwera hosted the players to a luncheon at Kamuzu Palace following a good performance during the championship held in Port Elizabeth.
For the first time in the history of women’s football, Chakwera gave an audience to the players and the coaching panel.
However, there were more surprises for the players as he gave K150,000 to each of the 20 players and K200, 000 each to eight members of the technical panel as one way of appreciating the team’s achievements during the competition.
Chakwera said the Scorchers had done the nation proud.
“The team made history by reaching the finals of Cosafa Women’s Championship. But I encourage the players to aim higher and win trophies,” Chakwera said.
The Scorchers presented a silver medal to Chakwera.
In April this year, Chakwera also hosted the Malawi National Football Team, the Flames, after qualifying for the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals.
Sports Minister Ulemu Msungama said the team performed beyond expectations.
“The team demonstrated a hardworking and patriotic spirit. I would like to urge the private sector to come forward and join the government in developing sports in the country,” Msungama said.
Scorchers captain Madyina Ngulube hailed Chakwera for hosting them, saying it would motivate the squad.
“We are motivated and we will continue working hard to put Malawi on the international map,” Ngulube said.
During the competition, Malawi registered three victories and two losses in five matches.
But for the first time, the Scorchers defeated South Africa’s Banyana Banyana 3-2 in the semifinal.
The Scorchers won a silver medal during the 2021 Cosafa Women’s Championship after losing 1-0 to guest nation Tanzania on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Scorchers will remain in camp as they are preparing for another tough assignment against Zambia in Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers this month-end.
The Scorchers will host Zambia in the first leg on October 20 at Bingu National Stadium before travelling to Lusaka for the return leg a week later.
The team had its first training session at Civo Stadium yesterday following itsreturn from Cosafa Women’s Championship on Monday.
National Women’s Football Association (NWFA) Chairperson Suzgo Ngwira confirmed that the team would camp at Chiwembe Technical Centre.
“We have no time to rest. We have another important game next week; so, the players will remain in camp,” Ngwira said.
The 2022 qualifiers were cancelled in June this year due to Covid pandemic.
Scorchers interim coach McNerbert Kazuwa said the focus was on the match against Zambia.
“The Cosafa Cup has helped us prepare for the match. We have some home-work to do before we meet Zambia. We have enough time to rectify the problems,” Kazuwa said.
The last time Malawi and Zambia met was during last year’s Cosafa Championship, with the Scorchers triumphing 1-0 courtesy of Temwa Chawinga’s goal.
Malawi last took part in the Afcon qualifiers in 2012, when they were eliminated after a 9-4 loss to Zambia on aggregate.
The Scorchers finished as Cosafa Cup runner-up to eventual winners Tanzania after a 1-0 loss on Saturday.
Zambia won bronze.