Newly appointed women’s senior national football team coach McNebert Kazuwa has downplayed the short period of preparation for the 2020 Africa Women’s Cup of Nations (Awcon) first-round qualifier against e-Swatini on April 6.
He said the remaining three weeks are enough for the new coaching panel to assemble and fine-tune a squad capable of producing results at the continental event.
Kazuwa, who was assistant coach in the previous Abel Mkandawire-led panel, made the statement yesterday after FAM general secretary Alfred Gunda said they have not set a target for the new panel, but challenged them to at least cross the group stage of the Awcon qualifiers.
“The good thing is that we will not start from scratch. We will build a squad around the already existing team. It is not like we will begin the talent search again, but we will just be filling in the gaps,” Kazuwa said.
Nevertheless, Gunda said it was unrealistic to set targets for the new coach, considering that the team it is still at a developmental stage.
“But we challenge them to go beyond the first round so that they can prove that they are making strides,” he said.
Malawi last competed in the continental showpiece in January 2012 when they were booted out 4-9 aggregate by Zambia.
In the latest edition, the first round winners will proceed to the second round scheduled for June.
If the Scorchers beat e-Swatini in the two-legged encounters, they will proceed to the second round in which they will take on South Africa’s Banyana Banyana.
Eleven winners of the second round encounters will secure automatic qualification for the 12-team finals along with the yet-to-be-identified hosts between November 23 and December 20.
In the new panel, Kazuwa will be assisted by former head coach Maggie Chombo-Sadick and Andrew Chikhosi. Chisomo Nkhoma and Victor Mphande have been roped in as fitness trainer and goalkeepers’ trainer, respectively while Clara Luhanga has been maintained as team manager. Elita Chiwoko is the team doctor.
FAM has also appointed Thom Nkorongo as the head coach for the Women’s Under-17 national team, which is set to make a maiden international appearance at the Cosafa Women’s Under 17 Championship in Mauritius next month. The team has been drawn in Group A with e-Swatini, Mauritius and Botswana.
Nkorongo will be assisted by Scolastic Luhanga and Linda Kasenda.