03 April 2019 09:32
Malawi women’s national football team begins its long and windy road to the 2020 Olympic Games by hosting neighbours Mozambique on April 4 in CAF qualifiers.
The first round, first leg match will take place at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre followed by the return leg in Maputo four days later.
The overall winner of the Malawi-Mozambique tie will date Kenya in the second round.
It is a new beginning for Malawi who are under the tutelage of seasoned coach Abel Mkandawire who took over the mantle from Maggie Chombo-Sadik.
Malawi also welcomes back to the squad China-based captain Tabitha Chawinga and her Sweden-based sister Temwa, both having last played for the team at the regional COSAFA Championship in Zimbabwe in 2017.
Ahead of the match, Tabitha, nominee for 2017 and 2018 CAF Awards, said she has faith in the squad which has been training in Blantyre.
Tabitha, who plays for Jiangsu Suning is the reigning Golden Boot awardee for the Chinese Women’s League having scored 17 goals last season.
She has carried her red hot form to this season, little wonder she is hoping for the best in the national team colours.
“I have faith in the squad that together with cooperation, we can rise up to the challenge and beat Mozambique. I have the confidence in my abilities based on what I have achieved in China. If we work as a team, we should be able to win the games against Mozambique,” Tabitha said.
Temwa, who plays for second tier Kvarnsveden IK in Sweden, has also looked sharp in training. Malawi has not played friendly games but mere practice matches against Malawi’s male youth teams. In one of the training matches, the women’s team losing 4-1 to Namiwawa FC.
Mkandawire is not worried of the performance in the training matches. “The players are grasping what I am telling them. For instance, during the game against Namiwawa, we conceded some silly goals in the first half and we were trailing 4-0. In the second half, we changed approach and frustrated their plans of hitting us a dozen of goals. We scored after changing our formation,” Mkandawire said.
The second and third round qualifying matches will take place in September and October respectively.