Malawi women’s national football team got off to a flying start at this year’s Cosafa Cup after thumping Lesotho 9-0 at Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality in South Africa yesterday.
The victory has taken Malawi to the summit of Group B with three points from one match, above Zambia on goal difference ahead of the crunch match between the two neighbours at the same venue. Malawi will only need a draw to progress to the semifinals as group leaders for the first time since 2011.
Scorchers captain Tabitha Chawinga led the onslaught when she scored six goals to also move top of scorers’ chart, three above Zambian striker Barbra Banda. Zainab Kapanda opened the floodgates inside two minutes of the match with a right-foot shot before Tabitha made it 2-0 from close range in the fifth minute from close range.
Temwa, also based in China with Wuhan FC, was not left behind as she registered her name on the score sheet with a powerful shot in the 11th minute. It was one-way traffic as Jiang Sunning forward (Tabitha) added three more goals including from the penalty spot to put the scores at 6-0 before the break. After the break, the Scorchers continued to pile pressure on their opponents as Asimenye Simwaka got her name on the score sheet.
Tabitha was not done yet as she scored two more goals to inspire the Scorchers to highest scoring record in this year’s competition and Malawi’s second best ever record scoring at the tournament. Malawi’s record for the Cosafa Cup is 13 -0 which they achieved last year after beating Comoros Islands. Tomorrow’s match means Malawi and Zambia will renew their rivalry after they last met when the She-Polopolo won 6-3 in Zimbabwe.
Scorchers coach Mcnelbert Kazuwa put faith in Samir Amidu between the sticks with Patricia Nyirenda, Emily Josam, Ruth Nyirongo and Chimwemwe Madise forming a back four. Madyina Nguluwe and Kapanda started in midfield whereas Sabina Thom and Simwaka operated from the flanks. Tabitha and Temwa led the front line.
After the game, Kazuwa urged his troops to focus on the game against Zambia.
“I encouraged the girls to play the way we train. They played the way we wanted. We did not want our opponent to have the ball. Zambia is another game and we will approach in a different way,” Kazuwa said.
On her part, Tabitha was excited.
“I am happy with the performance. We followed instructions from the coach,” she said. The result means Lesotho have been eliminated from the competition after they lost 8-0 to Zambia in the opening match. Lesotho coach Lehloenya Nkhasi said lessons have been learnt the hard way.
“The players have learnt a lot and we will do better next time. Playing Malawi and Zambia was really tough,” he said.
Line-ups: Malawi Amidu, Nyirongo, Madise, Josam, Nyirenda, Nguluwe, Kapanda, Sabina Thom, Simwaka, Temwa, Tabitha. Lesotho: Cynthia Maifo, Patricia Motsoeng, Agnes Leboka, Montseng Matete, Ntsatsi Khakanyo, Mosele Pita, Senate Letsie, Joyce Labale, Lillian Mpeta, Georgina Kheme, Phunzile Molefe.