Malawi national women’s football team’s chances of qualifying for the Cosafa Women’s Championship hang by a thread after a 3-1 loss to hosts South Africa at Isaac Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality Friday.
This means the She-Flames will be hoping to qualify as best losers should they beat Comoros Islands in their last Group A match on Monday.
South Africa top the group with six points from two games after thrashing Comoros Islands 17-0 in their opening game on Wednesday.
The She-Flames have three points after beating Madagascar 2-0 in their first game.
Madagascar also have three points after walloping Comoros 5-1 in another match played Friday.
Malawi started yesterday’s game on a high as Asimenye Simwaka scored four minutes after kickoff.
Simwaka received a through ball from Wezi Mvula before picking her spot to open the scores.
It was Simwaka’s first goal in She-Flames colours and her first in the tournament.
After the goal, Malawi sat deep and invited pressure from the hosts who grabbed the equaliser through Lebohang Ester Ramalepe 10 minutes before the break.
Malawi were dealt a big blow after goalkeeper Samir Amidu picked an injury which saw Mercy Sikelo replacing her.
Life was tough for the She- Flames as they played against the wind in the second half.
Matters worsened as Malawi lost concentration to allow South Africa to get the lead through Bambanani Mbane in the 68th minute.
Mbane pounced on a rebound from close range to give her team some relief.
The She-Flames tried to equalise but Simwaka was the lone fighter upfront as Linda Kasenda struggled.
Kasenda was taken off for Zainabu Kapanda while Wezi Mvula was also substituted for Shira Dimba.
South Africa’s Amanda Mthandi scored the third goal to kill off Flames’ hopes of coming back into the game.
Malawi Coach, Abel Mkandawire, made two changes to Wednesday’s starting line-up.
Veteran striker, Kasenda, was recalled to replace youngster Mary Chabvinda whereas Chikondi Gondwe made her first appearance in this year’s tournament in place of Bridget Nkuzilire who was relegated to the bench.
Despite the loss, Mkandawire praised his charges for a spirited performance.
“The players did a good job and I am proud of them. They all played according to instructions. But we still have chances of qualifying for the semifinals. We will work hard to win our last game with a big margin so that we make it,” Mkandawire said.
South Africa Coach, Desire Ellis, said Malawi were tough opponents.
“We knew that Malawi would press hard but they were a bit relaxed and lost possession. We took control of the game though Malawi gave us a good run for our money,” Ellis said.
Malawi line-up: Samir Amidu, Maureen Phiri, Chimwemwe Madise, Towera Vinkhumbo, Patricia Nyirenda, Chikondi Gondwe, Salome Vinkhumbo, Sabina Thom, Wezi Mvula, Asimenye Simwaka, Linda Kasenda.