For all the promises, Malawi Women’s National Football Team, the Scorchers, started the 2021 Cosafa Women’s Cup campaign on a bad note Tuesday.
The Scorchers lost 2-1 to a second string South Africa’s Banyana Banyana at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa. Individual errors cost the Scorchers the match. The result also means that the Scorchers have never beaten SA.
Malawi started the game on a low and conceded as early as two minutes following poor communication between goalkeeper Samir Amidu and defenders.
Striker Melinda Kgadiet drew first blood for the defending champions in the third minute before Noxolo Cesane doubled South Africa’s lead in the 37th minute.
Cesane benefitted from another goalkeeping blunder and poor defending.
Defender Chimwemwe Madise gave away the ball to what looked like a harmless ball that ended into the back of the net. Cesane before she unleashed
Scorchers striker Fazira Chiyembekezo forced South Africa’s goalkeeper Kaylin Swart to make a reflex save in the first half.
After recess, the Scorchers displayed an improved performance and matched the hosts in many departments.
Wezzie Mvula pulled one back in the 89th minute.
Malawi had a chance from a free-kick in added time but Ireen Nkhumalo blasted the ball over the bar as South Africa held on for a slender 2-1 victory.
The defeat means the Scorchers are bottom of the table without a single point.
South Africa lead the group with three points followed by Angola and Mozambique with one point a piece following 2-2 draw in an early kick-off Tuesday.
After the match, Scorchers interim trainer McNerbet Kazuwa said, despite the defeat, there were some positives from the match.
“We conceded silly goals because of some mistakes but the girls played really well,” he said.
The Scorchers will face Mozambique on Friday at the same venue before meeting Angola three days later.
On her part, Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis said her side was in control of the match.
“We dominated the match but we did not take our chances. We knew that it was going to be a very difficult game,” Ellis said.
Only group winners will advance to the semifinals and they will be joined by overall best runner-up.
Line-ups: Malawi: Amidu, Ruth Nyirongo, Madise, Patricia Nyirenda, Ireen Khumalo, Madyina Ngulube, Sabina Thom, Wezzie Mvula, Zainab Kapanda, Fazila Chiyembekezo, Asimenye Simwaka.
SA: Swart, Makhurubetshi, Holwen, Van Wyk, Makhabane, Cesane, Salgado, Moodaly, Mbane, Makhubela, Kgadiete.