Malawi Women’s National Football Team Coach McNebert Kazuwa has said postponement of the women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers that were due to take place next month is a blessing in disguise.
The Scorchers were due to host Zambia next month and regrouped on Sunday for the qualifiers.
But Confederation of African Football (Caf) announced Wednesday that the qualifiers would take place in the October 18 2021 Fifa window, with the second round scheduled for the February 14-23 2022.
Kazuwa said the postponement would give him more time to prepare for Zambia.
“Our players have been idle for over a year due to Covid, so it is our hope that by October the players will be in great shape. The postponement will also give us enough time to hunt for international friendlies. The players need international exposure before the match against Zambia. So we are relieved with the postponement,” he said
The winner between Zambia and Malawi will face Tanzania or Namibia in the second round of the qualifiers in February next year.
With the postponement, the Scorchers are expected to break camp today.
Caf Deputy Secretary General Anthony Baffoel said they decided to postpone the qualifiers, whose finals are set for Morocco next year, in line with the rescheduling of the men’s qualifiers.
“Reasons for the postponement were based on the actual conditions of certain stadiums in Africa and restrictions related to Covid,” Baffoel said.
Some 44 teams are expected to fight for 11 slots at the women’s finals.
Malawi Under-20 has also been drawn against Zambia in the Fifa World Cup qualifiers.
Caf’s Emergency Committee, in consultation with Fifa, also postponed Caf qualifiers for the 2022 Qatar World Cup that were scheduled for June.
The postponement was a result of Covid challenges and also to ensure optimal playing conditions for all participating teams.