Malawian women team needed a miraculous eight-goal margin win on Sunday at Kamuzu Stadium, but only managed a 4-2 victory over ZambiaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s She-polopolo who proceeded in the African Championship on 9-4 goal aggregate.
MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s team could have progressed to the final qualifying round had cheap football politics not infiltrated the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s players selection which culminated in the 7-0 whitewash a fortnight ago in Lusaka.
The Zambians looked well balanced and sharp but there was nothing to suggest their gulf in class. In fact, they played catch up with Malawi leading at break through Tabitha ChawingaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s clever 22nd minute finish after a counter attack.
It took a minute before the visitorsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ Susan Banda levelled through an opportunistic well-measured dipping free kick which MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s otherwise impressive goalkeeper Thoko Mwase misjudged.
Linda Kasenda restored MalawiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lead after sweeping the ball past Zambia jittery goalkeeper Mirriam Katamanda on 40th minute. Kasenda again headed the third after a defensive mix-up.
Zambia responded through slippery winger Mupop Kabange whose mazy run ended with her cool finish following a fumble by Malawi substitute goalkeeper Alice Msiska. Mwase had suffered a shoulder injury.
Defender Aniah Lizi scored the last for Malawi with a 35-metre free kick. It was game over. Malawi coach Temwa Msuku said: Ã¢â‚¬Å“I knew it would be difficult to overcome a seven-goal deficit but I am proud all the same in the girls.Ã¢â‚¬Â
His Zambian counterpart Enala Simbeya admitted that her charges were jittery in the opening stages but deserved to proceed to the final qualifying round where South AfricaÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Banyana Banyana lie in waiting.