Malawi Senior Women’s National Football Team, the Scorchers, have a date with destiny as they face Zambia’s Copper Queens in the second leg of a Total Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifier at Nkoloma Stadium this afternoon.
The battle between the two sides is not yet over after a 1-1 stalemate in the first leg at Bingu National Stadium on Wednesday, October 20 2021.
Surely, both teams would be looking for a positive result in this tie to book a place in the second round of the qualifiers. However, the Copper Queens have a slight advantage heading into the match after scoring a vital away goal in the first leg.
The Scorchers need a win or a scoring draw of more than one goal to qualify to the next round whereas a goal-less draw will be enough for Zambia.
In a press conference monitored on Football Association of Zambia (Faz) Facebook page, Scorchers caretaker coach McNelbert Kazuwa was confident of reaching the next round.
“We know Zambia as a big team and we have always been underdogs when playing them but we will play our usual game with the aim of winning it,” Kazuwa said.
In the last two matches, the Scorchers have never lost to Zambia. Malawi beat Zambia 1-0 in the 2020 Cosafa Women’s Championship before last week’s 1-1 stalemate.
In today’s match, the Scorchers must be brave to beat Zambia, who showed quality in the first leg.
In the first leg, the Scorchers gave Zambia too much respect in the first half and were outplayed in many departments.
Scorchers captain Madyina Ngulube said the players were in high spirits ahead of the clash.
“We will do everything to win the match. We have self-confidence and promise to deliver,” Ngulube said.
Kazuwa will likely make one change to the starting line-up in the first leg as striker Fazira Chiyembekezo is expected to start ahead Rose Kabzere.
Goalkeeper Ruth Mhango, who had a grand game, will start, with Patricia Nyirenda, Ruth Nyirongo, Ireen Khumalo and Chimwemwe Madise starting as a back four.
Ngulube, Zainab Kapanda, Wezzie Mvula and Asimenye Simwaka will start in midfield. Sabina Thom and Chiyembekezo will lead the front line.
Zambia Coach Bruce Mwape has described the Nations tie against Malawi as still being open.
Mwape is quoted by faz.co.zm as promising that his lasses will be more clinical in front of goal.
He said they had identified their weak links and have rectified their errors going into the return leg.
“It is still an open game. We have identified our mistakes and we would work on them. One of them is our finishing. Malawi is a good side; we have played them several times. We can’t underrate them,” Mwape said.
He said his team needed to sharpen its attack which wasted many chances in the away stalemate.
“Looking at the performance of the team, that is not a true reflection of the game we played. The first half, in fact the entire 90 minutes, we dominated play. We created chances, we could have scored three goals in the first half,” Mwape said.
He said the girls lacked concentration and patience, costing them many chances.
“Our finishing was poor. If we had patience, we could have scored more goals. The game could have ended with six or seven goals. We had lack of concentration,” Mwape said.
Captain Grace Chanda, Rachael Kundananji, Mary Wilombe and Ochumba Oseke are potential match-winners for Zambia.
The winner between Malawi and Zambia will face Namibia in the third and final round of the qualifiers. Namibia knocked out Tanzania 5-3 on aggregate.