Malawi Women’s National Football Team, The Scorchers, yesterday fought till their last breath to surrender the Cosafa Women’s Championship to Tanzania after a 1-0 loss.
The match, played at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in South Africa, lived up to its billing as both sides displayed tactical maturity.
But it was Tanzania, The Giraffes, led by their captain Amina Bilali, who had an upper hand as they created more chances.
Malawi only had nine goal attempts with four on target, but were easily taken care of by Tanzania goalkeeper Janeth Simba.
The Giraffes also enjoyed possession and had seven shots at goal, with five on target.
They managed to convert one in the 63rd minute through midfielder Enekia Lunyamila.
Malawi’s goalkeeper Ruth Mhango managed to save midfielder Fatuma Suleman’s set piece, but her defenders failed to clear the ball and Lunyamila, who was lurking in the box, pounced on the rebound.
Both sides were twice denied by the post as The Giraffes tried to double the lead while The Scorchers effortlessly searched for an equaliser that never came.
At the end of the day, the lone goal separated the two sides, as Tanzania became the first to win the championship in the history of the regional tournament.
But for Malawi, it was an experience worth cherishing as they played in their first final after overcoming hosts South Africa in the semi-finals for the first time as well.
The Scorchers coach McNelbert Kazuwa said he was proud of his girls despite the narrow loss.
He said: “It was not our day. Our opponents were always first on the ball. But we are happy that we reached the final. It’s a milestone for us. Next time we will grab the championship.”
Kazuwa’s counterpart Bakari Shime also hailed Malawi for giving the guests a good game.
He said: “It was a competitive game for both sides. We are happy to win the championship.”