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Morale high

Tabitha Chawinga trains with Flames

Malawi women’s national football team is expected to come out guns blazing when facing their Kenyan counterparts in 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifying match this afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

To prepare for the match, Malawi top striker Tabitha Chawinga joined the males’ team, the Flames, in training Tuesday as, when she arrived, the She-Flames had already trained.

Flames Coach Meke Mwase, whose charges are fine-tuning for the World Cup qualifier against Botswana, confirmed that they accommodated the China-based female striker in training at Chiwembe Stadium.

“She wanted to loosen up after a long trip so we allowed her to train with us. It wasn’t much. It was about relaxing  the muscles. Of course, she is a good footballer,” Mwase said.

It is a familiar territory where the She-Flames started their campaign with a 11-1 win over Mozambique in April 2019, thanks to the exploits of Chawinga sisters Temwa and Tabitha.

Malawi Coach, Abel Mkandawire, said morale in the team was high following the arrival of Chawinga sisters.

“It is doable. You saw what happened against Mozambique. Some people didn’t give us a chance but we beat Mozambique 14-1 [over two legs]. I have all the trust and belief that we can perform wonders,” he said.

Mkandawire said, even though his charges would be cautious, he would opt for an attacking option.

“We are attacking all the way and not sitting at the back. We are playing at home. We want to please everybody—our sisters, uncles and even those that are not in Malawi,” he said.

Last time the She-Flames played at the same venue, the spectators witnessed a flood of goals, with Temwa scoring five times and Tabitha a treble.

Mkandawire is convinced that his troops can replicate that form.

“I can assure you that, with the girls’ performance, we should be able to win convincingly. In South Africa, we scored 13 goals in a single game [against Comoros Island] and Linda [Kasenda] scored eight goals. Our girls are scoring freely so trust that they would deliver,” he said.

Mkandawire said they had been analysing Kenya’s games.

“We have seen how our opponents play. We know that they are athletes and we have a plan for them,” he said.

Mkandawire is also particularly happy with Madyna Nguluwe’s recovery as she missed the Cosafa Women’s Championship in South Africa last month due to an injury.

Captain Tabitha, who plays in Chinese Women’s League, promised to work extra hard to inspire the side to victory.

“I know everyone is looking forward to this game,”she said.

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