Uncertainty surrounds the availability of Malawi women football exports Tabitha Chawinga, her younger sister Temwa and Sabina Thom for the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Women’s Championship in South Africa next month.
Despite requesting the clubs to release the players by August 27, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda yesterday said the clubs are yet to respond.
“As of yesterday [Tuesday], we had not yet received any response from the clubs,” he said.
But Tabitha, who plays for Chinese top-flight league club Jiangsu Suning, said it was unlikely that she would be released since the second round had just kicked off.
Temwa and Sabina, who belong to Swedish outfit Kvarnsvedens IK, have also said they are not sure if they will be available.
“FAM told our club that Sabina and I should be in Malawi by August 27. Kvarnsvedens were ready to release us because we did not have games on that date,” she explained.
“However, they were not aware that we would be with the national team for at least three weeks and we would miss at least six games.”
Coach Maggie Chombo-Sadik on Monday told MBC 2 that she needs the three professionals in her squad.
“Apart from their contribution, these professionals are also a good motivation to up-and-coming players in the squad,” she said.
Meanwhile, Malawi has been paired against hosts South Africa, Botswana and Madagascar in Group A.
They will kick off their campaign against Botswana on September 12 at Wolfsohn Stadium before taking on Madagascar and South Africa, respectively.
Zambia, Mozambique, Cameroon and Lesotho are in Group B while Zimbabwe, Namibia, Swaziland and Uganda are in Group C.
Tabitha and Temwa were the country’s best scorers, having at 2017 edition having scored eight and four goals, respectively.
But Tabitha also finished as second best scorer of the tournament as she was just two goals behind eventual Golden Boot Award winner Rutendo Makore of Zimbabwe.