Malawi women’s football national team still have a chance of making it to the semi-finals of the Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Women’s Cup, but their fate is no longer in their hands.
Malawi are third in Group A with three points having lost to Zambia 6-3 in their opening match before recovering with a 6-3 victory over islanders Madagascar.
Zimbabwe and Zambia are tied at four points at the top after a one-all draw in their second match on Friday.
Malawi face hosts Zimbabwe in their last group fixture at Luveve Stadium while Zambia play Madagascar this afternoon.
The two top sides will be aiming for a convincing victory so that they top the table and qualify as winners.
If Malawi can manage a surprise victory over the host, they will finish at six points while a draw will relegate them to four points. A loss will ultimately mean they are out.
Madagascar are already out of the race for the semi-final and the Zambians are likely to have little trouble demolishing the islanders.
Malawi’s realistic chances of making it to the semi-finals, is through best-losers slot.
Coach Stewart Mbolembole said they expect a tough encounter against the hosts.
“It’s going to be a difficult game. They are hosts and defending champions. They know that we stand between them and the semi-final qualification. They will throw everything into the match to qualify. But we are ready for them,” he said.
The coach is expected to maintain the line-up that beat Madagascar, with the Chawinga sisters Tabitha and Temwa leading the attack.
The two sisters scored six goals between them in Malawi’s victory over Madagascar.
Tabitha is now chasing the Golden Boot Award having banged a hat-trick in the opener against Zambia.
But the hosts are expected to build their match around striker Rutendo Makore who has scored all five goals for Zimbabwe at the tournament.
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda observed that Malawi’s setback is the players’ failure to last the entire game due lack of fitness. n