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On tenterhooks

Malawi in must-win match, hoping for favours from other groups

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By Mabvuto Kambuwe In Port Elizabeth, Rsa:

Malawi national women’s football team must win with a big margin against whipping girls Comoros Islands this afternoon at Gelvandale Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, South Africa.

The She-Flames are hoping to qualify for the semifinals of this year’s Cosafa Women’s Championship as best losers should results go their way.

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But qualification is not entirely in their own hands as results from other groups will decide the contest.

Malawi are third in Group A with three points, at par with second-placed Madagascar whereas South Africa top the standings with six points from two games.

To make the last four, the She-Flames must beat Comoros by more than five goals and hope that Zambia beat Botswana as well as Zimbabwe beating eSwatini.

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But if the matches between Zambia and Botswana or Zimbabwe and eSwatini end in draws, Malawi will be on the plane back home even if they win today.

Zambia and Botswana have six points each just like Zimbabwe and eSwatini in Group C and are separated by goal differences.

She-Flames Coach, Abel Mkandawire, said they will fight their own battle.

“Our strategy is to win with a big margin so that we increase our chances of reaching the semifinals. But we should go into the match with caution because Comoros can surprise us if we underrate them,” Mkandawire said.

Both teams are coming from losses with Malawi losing 3-1 to South Africa whereas Comoros suffered a 5-1 defeat to Madagascar on Friday.

Mkandawire is likely to maintain the team which lost 3-1 to South Africa with Asimenye Simwaka leading the attack alongside Linda Kasenda.

Salome Vinkhumbo and Chikondi Gondwe will partner in the midfield whereas Sabina Thom and Wezi Mvula will operate from the wings.

Mkandawire will also keep faith in the back four of stand-in Captain Towera Vinkhumbo, Patricia Nyirenda, Chimwemwe Madise and Maureen Phiri.

Samir Amidu is expected to be fit for the match after she was substituted at half-time on Friday.

But Mkandawire will have no worries should Amidu fail to make it as second choice goalkeeper, Mercy Sikelo, is ready to step in after solid displays against Banyana Banyana.

Group winners will advance to the semifinals where they will be joined by the best runners-up.

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