By Mabvuto Kambuwe, In Port Elizabeth, South Africa:
The She-Flames went into the game as underdogs and the hosts teased the visitors right from the first whistle.
For the better part of the game, Malawi kept chasing their own shadows as the hosts proved superior in many departments. The team sat too deep, allowing the hosts to pressurise them.
Banyana Banyana winger, Chrestinah Khatlana, was too quick for Malawi’s defence comprising Captain Salome Vinkhumbo, Fatsireni Kazembe and Ruth Nyirongo.
The hosts have advanced to the semi-finals as Group A winners with nine points and face Uganda, who topped Group C with seven points from three games.
It only took 10 minutes for South Africa to find the back of the net through Linda Motlhalo. Khanya Xesi grabbed Banyana Banyana’s second goal after 29 minutes in the first half.
Once again, Malawi’s defence failed to clear the ball from the danger zone, allowing Xesi to shoot straight into the net.
The She-Flames rarely threatened South Africa in the first half. Madina Ngulube got the only chance for Malawi but missed the target.
The two teams went for recess with South Africa enjoying a 2-0 advantage. Soon after recess, South Africa scored two quick goals in eight minutes.
Sensing danger, She- Flames Coach, Maggie Chombo-Sadik, made a double substitution, bringing in Bridget Mkuzilire for Shira Dimba and Zainab Kapanda for Saliva January.
But it was too little, too late as South Africa scored two more goals to end the match as a no contest.
Chombo-Sadik was visibly heartbroken with the loss but said the team needs better preparations for next year’s event.
“The players did not perform according to my expectations. But we should have prepared better for this tournament. Congratulations to South Africa. They deserved the victory,” Chombo-Sadik said.
Malawi started the competition with a 2-0 loss to Botswana on Wednesday before recovering to beat Madagascar by the same margin on Friday.
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