Two of African women’s football stars Scorchers’ Tabitha Chawinga and Zambia’s Barbara Banda, who both play in Chinese Super League, will take their rivalry to the 2020 Cosafa Women’s Championship next month after their national teams were drawn in one group.
This follows a draw for the tournament held yesterday in South Africa which has Zambia, Malawi alongside lowly-ranked Lesotho in Group B.
Tabitha, who arrived in the country yesterday alongside her sister Temwa, who also plays in China, said she was excited with the draw which will revive the two players’ rivalry.
Barbabara scored 18 goals to snatch the Chinese Super League Golden Boot award from Tabitha who managed seven goals while her sister Temwa was runners-up with nine.
Both Tabitha and Barbara missed the last edition of the Cosafa competition due to club commitments and will be returning to the competition that helped them clinch overseas deals.
The two players’ rivalry extends to their national teams after Malawi’s controversial exit in 2019 tournament when Zambia seemingly avoided facing the Scorchers in the semi-finals and preferred Botswana.
The Scorchers had beaten Madagascar 2-1, lost to South Africa 3-1 before whipping Comoros 13-0 to finish as their group’s runners up.
The hopes of Malawi making it to the semi-finals rested in Zambia beating Botswana.
But the game ended in a draw after a Zambia player missed a penalty by deliberately shooting wide so that the two teams tie and qualify for the semis.
Scorchers coach McNebert Kadzuwa said they have been waiting for an opportunity to face Zambia.
“We wanted to meet Zambia. They knew that if they were to face us in the semi-finals they would be in trouble. This time we are in the same group. They can’t avoid us,” he said.
Malawi will start the group stage against Lesotho on November 7 before Zambia on November 9.
Group A has defending champions and hosts South Africa’s Banyana Banyana, e-Swatini (formerly Swaziland), Comoros and Angola while Group C has Zimbabwe, Botswana and guests Tanzania.
Group winners and a best second positioned team from the three pools will qualify for the semi-finals.
Group A winners will face Group C winners while Group B winners will face second best team on November 12.
Meanwhile, Cosafa has changed the format for the Cosafa Uder-17 Championship from groups to round robin.