Malawi women football national team coach Stuart Mbolembole has made changes to the starting line up ahead of their second group-A match against Madagascar today at Barbourfield Stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe.
The national team lost their opening match at the ongoing Council of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) Women’s Cup 3-6 to Zambia on Wednesday, mostly due to poor defence and lack of cohesion when on the attack.
However, the coach yesterday told The Nation through WhatsApp that he has ringed changes, especially, in defence to avoid an early exit from the tournament.
If they lose the match, Malawi will be out of contention for a semi-final slot but a win will at least give them qualification chances.
Both Malawi and Madagascar have no points although the former are third on the log table having a better goal difference. Defending champions Zimbabwe and Zambia, who will face-off in the other group-A encounter this afternoon, are tied on three points. Zimbabwe thrashed Madagascar 4-0 on Wednesday.
Only one team from the group will make the grade for the semifinals scheduled for September 21 at Barbourfield Stadium.
“We had quite an embarrassing start in the tournament. We were totally disorganized at the back. May be the pairing was not good. We also missed a couple of clear scoring chances upfront. Physically, we were ready but tactically we lost our discipline,” he said.
“This is why, as a technical panel, we have decided to make some changes especially in defence. Surely, we cannot beat Madagascar with a rickety and porous defence; we need to jack up if we are to keep alive our hopes of making it into the last-four stage.”
In spite of that, he could not name the player he feels made it easy for Zambia to sleepwalk their way to a resounding victory.
Against Zambia, Malawi had Austria-based export Chisomo Kazisonga, Fatsireni Kazembe, Patricia Nyirenda and Wezzie Mvula in defence while Sabina Thom, Eluby Bottoman, Madna Ngulube and hat-trick heroine Sweden-based Tabitha Chawinga were in midfield. Mary Chavinda and Temwa Chawinga were upfront.
Besides, it was obvious Malawi could hardly tick in Cosafa opener as they had not played a single international strength-testing match prior to the contest. They had also not been together to gel since December last year when they lost 2-3 to Zambia in a friendly.
Madagascar coach Joharinirina Rakotomalala was quoted by www.chronicle.co.zw after losing to the Mighty Warriors, saying, they are keen on having an improved performance against Malawi.
“We managed to contain Zimbabwe in the first half but later lost concentration. We were disjointed and gave away possession.
“The goals came from the crosses and we didn’t defend well. We are hoping for an improved performance against Malawi. We want to do better than today’s performance,” he said.