Malawi women’s football team coach Abel Mkandawire says they are not intimidated by favourites and hosts South Africa’s Banyana Banyana whom they face in their second Group A match of the 2019 Cosafa Women’s Championship this afternoon.
The fixture will probably be Malawi’s biggest test at the southern Africa regional event as they need a victory over their bigger opponents to have a realistic chance of progressing to the semi-finals as the four-team group winners.
On the other hand, they will have to wait until their last group match against the Comoros Island next Monday and keep their fingers crossed to make the grade as best losers across the three groups of the 12-team competition.
South Africa, who took the ultimate glory in five of the last six editions and are fresh from competing at the Women’s World Cup in France, beat Malawi 6-0 in their last meeting.
Banyana Banyana had an excellent start on Wednesday when they thrashed the Comoros Island 17-0.
The victory is not only the biggest in the Cosafa Women’s Championship, but also South Africa’s largest ever win in their history.
On the other hand, Malawi survived Madagascar scare to win 2-0 in their opener to keep alive their hopes of reaching the last-four for the first time since 2011.
Banyana Banyana, ranked 49 in the world, are also the highest ranked team at the competition, 97 places ahead of Malawi.
“The odds are against us, but we are determined to win or draw to have a chance of reaching the semi-finals,” said Mkandawire.
“This will be our toughest match at the competition but I have told my charges not to play with pressure as that will lead to disaster. I believe it would make a difference if we remain cool on the pitch and enjoy our game.”
Soccer analyst George Kaudza Masina said it will be difficult for Malawi to beat South Africa,
Malawi and South Africa are using the Cosafa event to prepare for their 2020 Tokyo Olympics second round qualifiers against Kenya and Botswana, respectively, this month.
Both sides do not have over-seas professionals as the Cosafa event is not on Fifa calendar..