By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
Malawi women’s national football team Coach, Abel Mkandawire, has described the 2019 Cosafa Championship draw as tough but said he was not afraid of facing familiar foes.
Malawi have been drawn in a tough group against South Africa at the championship scheduled for July 31 to August 11 2019 at Wolfson Stadium in Port Elizabeth.
Mkandawire, who was an assistant to Maggie Chombo-Sadiki during last year’s tournament for the seniors, said the team just needed intensive preparations.
“We cannot expect an easy draw nowadays because teams have improved a lot. The good thing is that we will face teams we also faced last year. This is our time to show that we have quality players and, hopefully, we will reach far,” Mkandawire said.
The draw took place at Cosafa House, Johannesburg.
Drawn in Group A, Malawi senior team faces South Africa, Comoros Islands and Madagascar.
Group B comprises Zambia, Namibia, Mauritius and Botswana whereas Group C has Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola and eSwatini.
Overall group winners and best loser will advance to the semi-finals of the competition.
Malawi will use the championship to prepare for the 2020 Olympic qualifier against Kenya next month.
South Africa’s Banyana Banyana participated in the ongoing Fifa Women’s World Cup in France but exited in the group stages after losing all three matches.
National Women’s Football Association Chairperson, Suzgo Ngwira, said they had not set targets for the teams.
“We are happy with the draw. We need to face strong teams so that we should gauge our strength. The Cosafa Cup will help us to prepare for the Olympic Games, so we think it is a fair draw,” Ngwira said.
The team is expected to regroup at Mpira Village in Blantyre next week to prepare for the tournament.
There are doubts over the availability of Chawinga sisters Temwa and Tabitha due to club commitments.
During the 2018 edition, Malawi senior team exited the tournament from the group stages, having lost 2-0 to Botswana before beating Madagascar by a similar margin, before losing 6-0 to South Africa.
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