Malawi Under-20 women national football team coach Maggie Chombo-Sadiki and captain Zainab Kapanda have said they are ready to face the Young Warriors of Zimbabwe in this afternoon’s Under-20 World Cup preliminary round qualifier at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Chombo-Sadiki and Kapanda yesterday said they have left no stone unturned in a bid to get the much-needed victory.
“We have to make good use of home ground advantage. A win in this first leg will boost our confidence ahead of the second leg in [Bulawayo], Zimbabwe. In the last few days, we had difficulties, especially in defence, but now all the problems have been sorted out and we are ready for battle,” Chombo-Sadiki said.
On her part, Kapanda said they bank on home-crowd morale for a good start.
“Entry into the stadium is free and we are hopeful people will come in their large numbers to cheer us. Most of my team-mates will be making their first appearance on the international stage and they need to be inspired to perform to the best of their abilities,” she said.
Chombo-Sadiki will bank her hopes on key players such as striker Yamikani Mhango, midfielders Kapanda and Grace Yotamu alongside defender Tiwonge Phiri and goalkeeper Ruth Mhango.
Young Warriors coach Rosemary Mugadza, who arrived with her squad on Thursday, said they are wary of the threat that Malawi pose considering that they are starting the encounters away.
She was quoted by The Herald of Zimbabwe as having said that although her side has picked in terms of fitness, they are not underrating their opponents.
“So far, we did our tests in terms of fitness level. The girls have been improving each passing day in terms of reaction and endurance than when we started last Wednesday,” she was quoted as saying.
Malawi has 10 players that represented the country at the Zone VI Games in Botswana in December 2018.
FAM competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka has said they are hopeful the technical panel will build a squad capable of going a long way in the World Cup qualifiers and even make it into the finals scheduled for August in Costa Rica and Panama.