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She-Flames fall

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Malawi Women’s National Football Team lacked strength, speed, endurance and shape as they crumbled to a 6-3 loss to rampant She-polopolo of Zambia in Zimbabwe Wednesday.

The only exception to the She-Flames’ trials and tribulations was Sweden-based striker Tabitha Chawinga, who bagged a sumptuous hat-trick in this Group A qualifying match of the Cosafa Women’s Championship played at a deserted Barbourfields Stadium.

It was more like Chawinga against the speedy and well-built Zambians, who played a long-ball game.

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Malawi fell into the neighbours’ trap by hoofing long balls upfront, thereby giving Chawinga poor service.

The loss compromises Malawi’s chances of making the semi-final cut from the group, with the Zambians and Zimbabwe, who met Madagascar in a late kick off at the same venue Wednesday, as strong favourites.

Only group winners will progress to the last-four of the 12-member regional women’s championship. Next, Malawi takes on Madagascar tomorrow before winding up with Zimbabwe on Sunday.

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Man-of-the match Barbara Banda, who also scored three goals for Zambia, and her Coach, Albert Kachinga, in separate post-match interviews with Kwese Television, had the humility to give credit to the Stuart Mbolembole’s Malawi girls.

“Malawi is a good team. It was not an easy game. I wish Malawi all the best,” Banda said.

Taking his turn, Kachinga said: “It was an excellent game. I must admit that Malawi gave us a good run. It was a hard fought victory.”

Malawi, deploying a 4-4- 2 system, started the game strongly, putting their noses in front through Chawinga’s hard-and low finish in the ninth minute.

Zambia responded through Banda six minutes later.

The Zambian striker scored the second and third goals in the 36th and 37th minutes, only for Chawinga to add his second.

Half-time ended 3-2 in favour of the neighbours. In the second-half, the Zambians simply continued from where they left.

Rachel Zulu netted the fourth goal for Zambia from an acute angle in the 54th minute before being denied by a double save by Malawi goalkeeper Martha Banda.

Zambian striker Banda added the fifth goal in the 77th minute on the break.

Minutes later, Chawinga raced clear on the left before firing into the net from the near post with his left-foot nine minutes later. It was an absolute wonder goal as he turned his marker inside-out before picking his spot.

In added time, Zambia’s substitute Rachel Nachula completed the demolition with a low connection after a cut-back, leaving Malawi defence in sixes and sevens.

Malawi starting XI:

Martha Banda, Fatsireni Kazembe, Patricia Nyirenda, Chisomo Kazisonga, Wezzie Mzula, Sabina Thom, Eluby Bottoman, Madna Ngulube, Tabitha Chawinga, Mary Chabvinda, Temwa Chawinga.

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