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Scorchers coach promises sunshine

FULL OF CONFIDENCE—Tabitha (centre) and Temwa (right)

Malawi national women’s football team coach McNelbert Kazuwa believes he is the right man to bring back smiles to the faces of the success-starved nation.

The Scorchers will fly out of the country today through Kamuzu International Airport ahead of their Cosafa Women’s Championship opener against Lesotho on November 7 at Wolfson Stadium. The championship kicked off Tuesday.

Kazuwa will for the first time be in charge of the Scorchers at this year’s championship and is brimming with confidence at the prospect of breaking Cosafa Cup jinx.

“I have the best crop of women footballers in the country at the moment. Our aim is to win the cup for the first time. We know it will not be an easy task but we can do it,” Kazuwa, who was Abel Mkandawire’s assistant during last year’s editions, said.

The Scorchers have never reached the Cosafa Cup finals since it was introduced in 2002 but the team’s best ever finish was in 2011 when they reached the semifinals.

However, they were eliminated after a 5-1 loss to South Africa. Malawi will face last year’s runners-up Zambia on November 9.

The availability of China-based duo Tabitha and Temwa Chawinga has boosted the morale in camp after they missed the last two consecutive editions due to club commitments. The pair had a good season in China as Temwa won the Chinese Women’s Football League in her debut season with Wuhan FC whereas Tabitha finished second with Jiangsu Sunning.

Temwa finished as Wuhan’s top goal scorer with nine goals and second in the league to Zambian Barbra Banda whereas Tabitha scored seven goals.

On her part, Tabitha also said she was hopeful that the team would better previous results.

Apart from the duo, Kazuwa has also included exciting midfielder Madyina Nguluwe, Salome Vinkhumbo, Patricia Nyirenda, Wezzie Mvula, Asimenye Simwaka and Ruth Nyirongo.

Only Saliva January and Tiwonge Phiri are debutants in the Cosafa Cup but the rest of the members are seasoned campaigners. Last year, the Scorchers were eliminated after finishing second with six points in group A behind holders and hosts South Africa.

Malawi beat Madagascar 2-0 and Comoros 13-0 but lost 3-1 to South Africa.

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