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Scorchers out

DOWN AND OUT—Madyina Ngulube (right) challenges Grace Chanda

McNelbert Kazuwa

For all the early promise, Malawi Women’s National Football Team, the Scorchers, were bundled out of the 2022 Total Energies Women’s Afcon qualifiers following a 3-2 loss to Zambia at Nkoloma Stadium Tuesday.

There was a five-goal thriller Tuesday but the Scorchers were eliminated 4-3 on aggregate after a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Bingu National Stadium.

Zambia have qualified for the third and final round of the qualifiers and will face Namibia.

In a match monitored on Football Association of Zambia (Faz) Facebook page, the Scorchers produced a spirited performance in the opening 20 minutes of the match.

No wonder, Asimenye Simwaka gave the Scorchers a deserved lead after seven minutes. But the Copper Queens reorganised themselves and grabbed an equaliser in the 25th minute through Rachael Kundananji.

Kundananji was not done but she completed her brace with four minutes to the break. Zambia held on for a slender first-half lead. After the break, Wezzie Mvula gave Malawians false hope when she pulled the scores level in the 69th minute.

However, it was short-lived as Lushomo Mweemba scored the winner for Zambia in the 72nd minute of the match.

At the break, reliable defender Patricia Nyirenda was substituted for Emily Jossam due to injury.

Scorchers coach McNelbert Kazuwa made one change to the starting line-up as gangling forward Fazira Chiyembekezo started in place of Rose Kabzere, who was relegated to the bench.

Towards the end of the match, Kabzere replaced Zainab Kapanda whereas Mvula paved the way for Jesse Yosefe.

The Scorchers tried in vain to look for an equaliser in the closing stages of the match as Zambia stood firm.

Malawi were also eliminated at the same stage when they lost 9-4 to Zambia on aggregate in 2012.

In a post-match interview, Kazuwa, praised his players.

“It was a good performance from the girls and we gave Zambia a good run for their money,”Kazuwa said.

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