Football fans will not be required to pay a kwacha to watch tomorrow’s Malawi national women football team 2020 Tokyo Olympics first leg qualifier against Mozambique at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) commercial and marketing director Limbani Matola yesterday said the decision is meant to encourage Malawians to massively support the national team and inspire the girl child to play women football.
“As you know, women football is not as popular as men’s soccer and the women’s team needs morale to perform to the best of their abilities on home turf. Mind you, if we win this first leg by the biggest score margin possible, we would have a greater chance of progressing to the next round,” he said.
Matola said the match will give an opportunity to young girls, who can play women football but have not watched high-profile international games, to get inspired by players such as China-based Tabitha Chawinga and her Sweden-based young sister Temwa.
“We know most young girls can patronise the game if we remove the financial barrier, which is the gate charges. The free entry will also help to open the window for most parents that doubt the potential of women football to let their daughters join the sport,” he said.
On the prospects of financial loss considering that the local soccer governing body exhausted its annual subvention, Matola said: “Money is not everything. Sometimes we need to make financial sacrifices to inspire the girl child to take football seriously”.
Chawinga, who is the national team captain, said FAM’s decision is a good initiative.
“We are determined to show Malawians our capabilities on the pitch. By making the game free of charge, FAM has fulfilled our wish to let more people watch us in action because it will a big motivation. I tell you, we are ready to make the country proud,” she said.
National team coach Abel Mkandawire said the team is now in good shape for the international match after having three strength-testing matches with some male youth teams, which saw them losing two and drawing one.
The women national team is Malawi football’s last hope in prestigious international competitions this year after the men’s senior Flames were recently booted out of the African Cup of Nations (Afcon) qualifiers and Under-23 national team failed to qualify for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
Meanwhile the Mozambican team was scheduled to arrive later yesterday.