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Tabitha Chawinga gives government food for thought

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By Peter Kanjere:

Malawi’s trail-blazing woman footballer Tabitha Chawinga’s exploits in China should give domestic sports authorities ‘food for thought’ on whether there is enough investment in women’s sports, the government has said.

Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Francis Kasaila, was responding to The Daily Times question on what he makes of Chawinga’s clinching of the Chinese Women’s Le ague’s Golden Boot Award in her debut 2018 season.

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“We should be proud of her. Her achievements should give us food for thought on how much we are investing in ladies sports,” Kasaila said on Monday.

He added that the performance of Chawinga and that of Malawi netball Queens is better compared to that of males’ sports teams.

The dread-locked striker scored 17 goals for Jiangsu Suning in China before helping the club to win Chinese Women’s Super Cup after beating Dalian Aerbin 3-0 on Saturday.

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Chawinga also netted 39 goals in 18 games for Swedish side Krokom/ Dvärsätt IF in 2014, then 43 goals in 2015 before signing for Kvarnsverden in the Scandinavian country.

She scored 15 goals for Kvarnsverden in 2016 then 26 the following year before signing for Suning last year.

The 22-year-old was also nominated for Confederation of African Football Best Woman Footballer Award.

“I am very happy to be the top scorer in China. If you look at the number of the goals I scored while in Sweden, you might think that I struggled in China but I missed several games due to injury and there are also fewer teams in the league for China compared to Sweden,” she said.

Football Association of Malawi President, Walter Nyamilandu, on Monday concurred with Kasaila that women’s sports requires more funding.

“There is definitely a lot of potential of women in sports in this country, particularly football. We need to revisit our sports policy to be inclusive and encompassing to promote women to actively participate in sports and not just netball.

“As Fam, we continue to invest in women’s football and Tabitha is the fruit of that investment. We are looking for support from the private sector, non-governmental organisations and other stakeholders to sponsor clubs and leagues for women’s football. Fam has been single-handedly sponsoring women’s football for over 12 years,” Nyamilandu said.

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