By Isaac Salima:
Malawi Women’s National Football Team, the Scorchers, are expected to leave the country today to take part in the 2022 Hollywoodbets Cosafa Cup in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
The Scorchers, who relocated to Blantyre last week after camping in Lilongwe, will depart in the afternoon for the tournament, which runs from August 31 to September 11.
According to a squad provided to Cosafa, Scorchers coach Lovemore Fazili has included three foreign based players namely Inter Milan Ladies striker Tabitha Chawinga, Rivers Angels striker Fazila Chiyembekezo and Lusaka Dynamos defender Chimwemwe Madise.
Former Simba SC striker Sabina Thom and former Dynamos defender Patricia Nyirenda have also been included in the final squad.
The squad also comprises of other experienced campaigners vice-captain Madyina Ngulube, runner-cum-footballer Asimenye Simwaka, defenders Ruth Nyirongo, Fatsireni Kazembe, Emily Jossam, Wezzie Mvula, Mary Chabvinda and Limbikani Chikupira.
However, China based Temwa Chawinga has been ruled out due to club commitments whereas Zainab Kapanda will also miss the tournament due to injury.
National Women’s Football Association (NWFA) chairperson Suzgo Ngwira confirmed Temwa’s absence.
“We have all the best players available for the Cosafa Cup minus Temwa. We want to do better than last year,” Ngwira said.
Ngwira said the team will spend a night in Johannesburg before proceeding to Port Elizabeth tomorrow.
Tabitha will join the team straight from Italy at around 3PM.
The Inter Milan striker said she was looking for help the team.
“We know there are more strong teams but we are ready for the challenge,” Chawinga, who returns to the tournament after missing, last year’s edition due to club commitments, said.
The Scorchers are in group C of this year’s Cosafa Cup alongside Botswana, Tanzania and Comoros Islands.
They will start their campaign against Botswana on September 2 at Nelson Mandela University Stadium before facing Comoros Islands three days later. Malawi will meet Tanzania in the last group stages match.
Interestingly, Malawi and Tanzania met during the 2021 Cosafa Women’s Championship final but the Scorchers lost 1-0.
However, there were some positives after they beat South Africa 3-2 in the semifinals for the first time in the history of the competition.