Ten-player Scorchers yesterday lost their first half rhythm to lose 6-2 to defending champions and hosts South Africa in an error-riddled Cosafa women’s Championship semi-final clash at Wolfson Stadium.
The result effectively shuttered the Malawi women football national team’s dream of a historic appearance in the southern African regional contest while South Africa are on course to a fourth consecutive title and seventh overall crown in eight editions.
So far, South Africa have beaten Malawi in all their five meetings in which they scored 23 goals and conceded only four. The two sides last met in Cosafa semis in 2011 when Banyana progressed to the final with a 5-1 victory.
Last year and in 2018, Banyana triumphed 3-1 and 6-0, respectively, in group stages.
Yesterday, the Scorchers appeared the better side in the first half despite being reduced to 10 players after goalkeeper Samir Amidu was sent for an early shower.
The two sides shared equal possession by the end of the goalless segment.
However, Malawi lost rhythm in the second half where Banyana Banyana scored six in quick succession. Malawi’s China-based Chawinga sisters—Tabitha and Temwa helped to minimise the margin with a goal apiece.
“It has been a good game. However, the red card killed us and our defence was not that good today,” said Malawi coach McNebert Kazuwa.
On her part, Tabitha, who is the tournament’s joint leading scorer with Banyana’s Sibulele Holweni on seven goals, said although they have been booted out, they are happy to have played in the tournament’s semis for the first time since 2011.
The Scorchers were reduced to 10 players in the 19th minute after goalkeeper Amidu was shown a straight red for a lunge at an advancing Banyana striker Linda Motlhalo on the edge of the 18-yard box.
They had no option but to sacrifice right-winger Asimenye Simwaka for reserve goal-minder Mercy Sikelo.
Mapula Ngoale put Banyana ahead in the 51st minute with a simple tap-in after Sikelo fumbled South Africa’s corner kick.
However, it only took two minutes for the Scorchers to restore parity as Temwa curled in a free-kick just outside the box.
Hilda Magaiah restored South Africa’s lead in the 62nd minute after taking advantage of Malawi’s defensive lapse while Ngoale completed her brace to give Banyana a two-goal cushion.
Magaiah got her brace in the 68th minute when she rounded Sikelo to have a simple finish. Banyana led 5-1 by the 74th minute when Sibulele Holweni stabbed home her seventh goal of the tournament. Magaiah scored a hat-trick in the 76th minute to give South Africa a 6-1 lead.
In the 78th minute, Tabitha scored Malawi’s second goal after weaving her way through a forest of defenders, including rounding the goalkeeper.
South Africa will this Saturday take on Botswana in the final. Botswana progressed to the ultimate battle for glory after beating Zambia’s Shepolopolo 2-1 in the other semi-final.