Malawi Women’s National Football Team, the Scorchers, earned a Cosafa Women’s Championship semifinal berth Tuesday after Zambia defeated Uganda 1-0 at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
It was a case of neighbourly love from Zambia, who helped the Scorchers to qualify for the semifinals as overall best runner-up ahead of Zimbabwe and Uganda.
This means Scorchers will face South Africa on Thursday in a repeat of the 2020 Cosafa Cup semifinal at Nelson Mandela Bay.
Zambia will face guest nation Tanzania in another semifinal match.
Malawi qualified having finished second in Group A with six points, just one point behind hosts and defending champions South Africa, who qualified as group winners.
Unlike in 2019, when Zambia drew 0-0 against Botswana under bizarre circumstances; this time, the Copper Queens showed great character against Uganda and found the back of the net in the 38th minute through Captain Grace Chanda.
Scorchers coach McNelbert Kazuwa said his focus was on the semifinal clash against South Africa.
“It gives us pride and this is what we wanted. It is our plea to Malawians to support us and we are geared to qualify for the final,” Kazuwa said.
Interestingly, Malawi and South Africa were in the same group.
Cosafa rules and regulations state that the semifinal line up is provisionally the winner of Group A to play the best-placed runner-up, and the winners of Group B and C to clash.
However, if the best runner-up is also from Group A, organisers can change the line up to ensure the two teams do not meet twice in quick succession.
But according to Cosafa, the organising committee decided not to change the fixture.
Last year, the Scorchers were eliminated after a 6-2 loss to South Africa.
The Scorchers started the 2021 Cosafa Women’s championship with a 2-1 loss to hosts and defending champions South Africa.
Malawi recovered in time to beat Mozambique 3-2 before a 2-0 victory over Angola in the last group stage match on Monday.