Malawi women football national team coach Maggie Chombo-Sadiki believes her charges can beat South Africa’s Banyana Banyana in today’s must-win clash in their last Group A Cosafa Women Championship match.
Hosts South Africa, who are on top of the group with six points and just need a draw to make the semi-final grade, are odds-on favourites as they are the Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Women Championship defending champions and have won four of the five previous tournaments.
Ranked 51 on Fifa/Coca-Cola Women’s Football rankings, they are also the highest-ranked in their four-team group and are the second highest at the 12-team event after 48th-ranked guest participants Cameroon from West Africa.
That, plus home-ground advantage means South Africa are the most probable outfit to qualify for the last-four stage as group winners.
On the other hand, Malawi are ranked 130, the second lowest in their group, and in the last five events they have crossed the Cosafa group stages once as group runners-up in 2011.
This is the first time the two sides are meeting at Cosafa Women Championship.
But despite all odds stuck against them, Chombo-Sadiki believes Malawi can deal with South Africa’s predictable advantage if they play their cards well.
“I can say our game against South Africa is our toughest assignment at the competition. However, that does not mean they are unbeatable; we just need to put up a gallant fight up to the final whistle,” she said.
After their 2-0 triumph over Madagascar in their second group match following a loss by a similar margin against Botswana in the opener, Malawi are third on the log-table with three points, just like second-placed Botswana. They need to beat Banyana Banyana to qualify for the semi-finals.
In today’s encounter, Malawi will bank hopes on forwards Linda Kasenda, Sheila Dimba and Mary Chabvinda.