Scorchers assistant coach McNelbert Kazuwa says enough is enough and his charges will not accept to be bullied again by hosts South Africa’s Banyana Banyana as the two sides clash this afternoon in the Cosafa Women’s Championship semi-finals at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium.
This will be the second meeting between the two sides at this year’s edition, having first met in the group stages which the defending champions came out 2-1 victors.
This afternoon’s match is also a repeat of the last edition’s semi-finals when Banyana also humbled the Scorchers 6-2.
The two sides have met four times in the last three editions of the regional competition and Malawi have played second fiddle.
In 2018, South Africa humiliated Malawi 6-0 in the group stage. In 2019, the two sides were in the same group and Banyana Banyana won 3-1.
In 2020, the two sides clashed in the semi-finals and the hosts won 6-2, shattering Malawi’s dream of a maiden final spot.
But Kazuwa—who also promised to end Banyana’s dominance before departure for Port Elizabeth—says this time the Scorchers will not be on the receiving end.
He said: “Yes, they beat us last year in the semi-finals and this year in the group stage.
“But if you look at the performance of our girls in the last match, you can see that we played well. We just conceded because of silly mistakes at the back.”
The Scorchers conceded as early as the second minute of the match straight from a goal kick before another blunder in the box allowed the hosts to double the lead.
But an improved performance in the second half saw Malawi pull one back and the Scorchers built from that to beat Angola and Mozambique to finish the group stage with six points.
Kazuwa said the Scorchers will keep on improving.
He said: “Looking at the two group games after the opening match against South Africa, the girls have picked up.
“Let me assure you that this time around, it will be a good game. It will be tight.
“South Africa are afraid of us. Whenever we meet, they know anything can happen. This is a match between two big teams.”
The Scorchers qualified as best runners-up following Zambia’s 1-0 win over guest side Uganda.
Malawi made it as best runners-up with six points and a goal difference of +2 above Zimbabwe’s -1.
Kazuwa insisted that the Scorchers deserved a semi-finals spot.
He said: “We thank Zambia for doing us a favour. But we deserved it. If you look at the trend at the tournament, it is tough. We were also in a very tough group.”
Initially, Malawi were not supposed to play South Africa again since the tournament’s rules and regulations do not allow two teams from same group to face each other again.
But the tournament’s organising committee opted not to change the fixtures.
Kazuwa said the Scorchers were prepared to face any team.
He said: “We came here to compete. We prepared for whatever may come.
“We are ready. The girls were geared to play in semi-finals just like last year. It would have been very bad if we had been knocked out in group stages.”
His counterpart Desiree Ellis said: “We have got to be better going into the semi-finals because there is no room for error there.
“There is no second chance there, and we have to be better in all departments. We know if we can keep a clean-sheet, we can always score.”