Malawi Women’s National Football Team, the Scorchers, have set their sights on breaking the jinx when facing hosts South Africa in their Group A opening match in this year’s Cosafa Women’s Championship this afternoon.
Surely, Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, will be on fire as both sides hope for a winning start.
In today’s fixture, the Scorchers must have self-belief and great character to get a positive result against a side with good history in this competition.
It will be a repeat of last year’s match as South Africa defeated Malawi 6-2 in the semi-final, although the result was not a true reflection of the match.
The Scorchers would want to claim their first win over Banyana Banyana in the Cosafa Cup, having lost all five matches to the hosts since the tournament was introduced in 2002.
The two teams also met at the same stage in 2018 and 2019.
In 2018, South Africa claimed a 6-0 win over Malawi at Wolfson Stadium before beating the Scorchers again 3-1 at the same venue in 2019.
Scorchers interim coach Andrew Chikhosi was optimistic that time had come for the Scorchers to get their first ever win against South Africa.
“We learnt a lot from previous meetings against South Africa. This time around, we will try our best because we know their style of play. We have got a plan to beat them,” Chikhosi told Football Association of Malawi media.
In this encounter, Chikhosi will likely rely on goalkeeper Samir Amidu whereas Patricia Nyirenda will lead defence alongside Chimwemwe Madise and Emily Josam.
Scorchers vice captain Madyina Ngulube will be at the heart of things, with Zainab Kapanda and Sabina Thom operating from the wings.
Multi-talented Asimenye Simwaka will lead the attack in the absence of China-based Chawinga sisters Tabitha and Temwa.
Banyana Banyana coach Desiree Ellis told Cosafa website that she would go for mixture of youth and experience in this year’s tournament.
The newly crowned Aisha Buhari Cup champions will be without most of the overseas players but veteran defender Janine Van Wyk is available.
Last year’s top goal-scorer Sibulele Holwen is also expected to lead South Africa’s attack.
Malawi will face Mozambique on Friday before meeting Angola on Monday.
Group winners from the three groups will automatically qualify for the semi-finals and will be joined by the overall best runner-up.
Despite reaching the semi-finals of the competition twice, the Scorchers have never reached the final.