Women’s football icon Tabitha Chawinga’s move from Kvarnsveden IK in Sweden to Chinese outfit Jiangsu Suning fetched $171 000 (about K126.5 million) which was the highest in women’s football worldwide in 2018.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) licensing and compliance manager Casper Jangale said this is contained in the records released by world football governing body Fifa.
He said there were 696 transfers in women’s football and 74 out of 211 Fifa member countries were involved in international transfers.
“The transfers involved 220 clubs and a total of $564 354 [about K417.6 million] was involved and Tabitha’s transfer fee was the highest.
“This speaks volumes of her value as one of the world’s highly-rated players and as a country, we should be proud that our very own is up there among the best,” he said.
Tabitha yesterday said she was humbled with news.
“Well… I didn’t know about that. I am really excited because it means that my talent is appreciated at the high level.
“For all this, I thank God Almighty for He is the one who has put me where I am and I am not going to let fame or success get into my head.
“I believe that in such circumstances, you have to work even harder,” she said.
FAM president Walter Nyamilandu described Tabitha as the pride of the nation.
“She is destined for greater heights. This only proves that she is a world-class player. We are proud of her exploits because she continues to put the country on the map,” he said.
Some of the world’s top clubs such as Olympique Lyon, which is the world’s top-ranked women football team and Paris Saint Germaine (PSG), are reportedly chasing her signature.
Last year, Tabitha was among the top 10 players short-listed for the CAF African Women Footballer of the Year.
She also won four awards in Chinese women football, including Footballer of the Year, Golden Boot in the league and cup tournaments in her debut season.
The Malawi women national football team captain scored 17 goals in the Chinese women top-flight league, seven more that her runner-up, Nigerian Asisat Oshoala, who was 2017 African Women Footballer of the Year.
She has won the top scorer accolade four times in foreign leagues since 2014 when she made her professional football debut with Kvarnsveden IK. She won it in her debut season and retained it the following year.
The dead-eyed forward also won it in 2017 with 25 goals despite her team being relegated to the lower league and was also named Forward of the Year during Swedish Football Awards ahead of the then World Player of the Year Lieke Martens.
On the local scene, she now sponsors Lilongwe-based DD Sunshine, the team that provided her the platform to scale lofty heights.