Scorchers coach McNebert Kazuwa is confident his charges can upset defending champions and hosts South Africa in this afternoon’s Cosafa Women’s Championship semi-final at Wolfson Stadium in Nelson Mandela Bay.
In the showdown, the South Africans are odd-on favourites having beaten the Scorchers in all their previous encounters. They triumphed 3-1 in last year’s Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Women’s Championship and 6-0 during the 2018 edition.
But despite the odds being stuck heavily against the Scorchers, Kazuwa believes they have what it takes to stun Banyana Banyana.
He said: “We are going into this semi-final match as underdogs, but we are ready and anything can happen if we play our cards well.”
“We watched their games and we have noted that they rely on speed and midfield dominance. Therefore, we have to be very strong in defence while being lethal on the attack.”
Scorchers captain Tabitha Chawinga, who is the competition’s joint leading scorer alongside Banyana Banyana’s Sibulele Holweno on six goals, said nothing is impossible.
“This will be a David versus Goliath affair, but we can make it if we put our hearts on it and we are ready for the showdown,” said the China-based striker.
Kazuwa said he will maintain the starting line-up, whose attacking and defensive tactics proved essential in their Group B victories against Lesotho and Zambia.
Banyana coach Desiree Ellis was quoted on Cosafa website wwwcosafa.com as having said they cannot afford to lose a single match at the tournament to successfully defend the crown and prove they are among Africa’s giants.
Banyana, who eye a fourth consecutive title and are the highest-ranked team at the 11-nation championship, have also won six of the last seven Cosafa titles.
On the other hand, the Scorchers have for the first time in nine years, made it to the last-four.
On Coca-Cola Fifa rankings, South Africa are ranked 53rd in the world and third in Africa while Malawi are 145th globally and 24th on the continent.
On their way to the semi-finals, Banyana Banyana thumped Comoros 7-0, e-Swatini 5-0 and Angola 2-0 to top Group A whereas Scorchers won 9-0 against Lesotho and 1-0 against their bigger opponents Zambia’s Shepolopolo to top Group B.