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She-Flames off to South Africa for Cosafa tourney

By Mabvuto Kambuwe

The Malawi national women’s football team is this afternoon expected to fly out to Port Elizabeth in South Africa for the Cosafa Women’s Championship scheduled to kick off on Wednesday.

But the Maggie Chombo Sadiki-led technical panel has a daunting task as the team will be without China-based influential Captain Tabitha Chawinga of Jiangsu Sunning and the Sweden-based duo of Temwa Chawinga and Sabina Thom.

South Africa-based Joy Bongowongo (University of Johannesburg) is the only foreign-based player in the team.

Chombo Sadiki has named a 20-member squad for the trip with five strikers. Veteran striker Linda Kasenda has returned after almost a year’s absence.

Kasenda is in top form, having netted 25 goals in the Central Region Women’s League.

The other forwards are Bongowongo, Limbikani Chikupira, Shira Dimba and Mary Chavinda. Martha Banda and Mercy Sikelo are the only goalkeepers in the squad, which has six defenders and eight midfielders.

Bridget Mkuzilire, Fanny Mwale, Pilirani Malola, Wezzie Mvula and Madina Ngulube are some of the midfielders who have made the trip. Defenders include Maureen Phiri, Patricia Nyirenda, Ruth Nyirongo and Fatsireni Kazembe.

Malawi will begin the competition on Wednesday against Botswana at Wolfsohn Stadium before facing Madagascar and South Africa.

The She-Flames are aiming at bettering last year’s performance when they exited the tournament in the group stages.

Chombo Sadiki recently said her target was to win all the group matches in the regional competition.

“As a pioneer of women’s football in the country, I am ready for this challenge. Having played women’s football, it feels good to be at the helm of the national team,’’ she was quoted as saying on www.cosafa. com.

Malawi exited the 2017 competition after losing 6-3 to Zambia before beating Madagascar by the same margin. They drew 3-3 against Zimbabwe in their last match.

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