Malawi national women football team coach Abel Mkandawire says they will cling on to a mathematical chance of sneaking into the Cosafa Women’s Championship semi-final.
Realistically, Malawi’s hopes are to make the grade as the best losers, but to achieve that, they have to beat whipping girls Comoros Islands with a goal deluge in their last group match at Gelvandale Stadium in Port Elizabeth, South Africa.
The Malawi women should also keep their fingers crossed that the Group B encounter between Zambia and Botswana plus a face-off involving Group C sides Zimbabwe and e-Swatini (formerly Swaziland) should not end in draws.
Apart from that they will be hoping against all odds that hosts and defending champions Banyana Banyana, who are at the summit of their four-team group with six points from two-straight wins, should falter against third-placed Madagascar.
A win for Malawi in this afternoon’s encounter will take them to six points from three matches, a feat Zambia and Botswana plus Zimbabwe and e-Swatini have already achieved in their respective groups after two-straight wins apiece.
At present, Malawi, which is eyeing a Cosafa semi-final slot for the first time since 2011, has a zero goal difference after three goals scored and the same number conceded while those of Zambia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and e-Swatini are 16, four, seven and six, in that order.
Only the top teams from each of the three groups and the best loser will play in the semis on Thursday.
Said Mkandawire: “We know it will not be an easy road to get to the semi-finals. However, our concentration is in our last group match. We are determined to score as many goals as possible and see what happens.”
He said their ultimate objective in this game is to score more goals, meaning they will be playing attacking football from the first whistle.
“We will attack with speed and intent. We have told the girls to show the same work rate they displayed against the Banyana Banyana. In short, we will attack from all cylinders to score more goals and avoid conceding. That is our only route to the semi-finals,” Mkandawire said.
Malawi vice-captain Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda said although their semi-final chances appear slim, they have not given up hope to make the last-four grade.
“We have not lost hope because anything is possible in a game of football,” she said.
Currently, Malawi is tied with Madagascar on three points, but Madagascar is second in their group due to a goal-difference of two against Malawi’s zero. Banyana Banyana top the group on six points and a 19-goal difference while Comoros anchor the table without a point.
South Africa just need a point from their encounter against Madagascar this afternoon to automatically qualify as group leaders.
If Madagascar can beat South Africa and Malawi defeat Comoros, it would leave all three sides on six points and it will be time for the calculators to determine which side advances as group winners.