Malawi National Women’s Football Team, Scorchers, yesterday qualified for the semi-finals of the Cosafa Women’s Championship as best runners-up.
The team’s qualification followed the 1-0 victory of Zambia’s Copper Queens over Uganda. The Scorchers will face defending champions South Africa’s Banyana Banyana tomorrow in a repeat of their Group A fixture.
Group B winners Tanzania will face Group C winners Zambia in the other semi-final.
The scenario is despite the competition’s rules and regulations being against a situation where two teams from the same group face each other in the semi-finals.
The rules and regulations state: “The semi-final line-up is provisionally the winner of Group A to play the best-placed runner-up, and the winners of Groups A and C to clash.
“However, if best runner-up is also from Group A, organisers can change the line-up to ensure the two teams don’t meet twice in quick succession.”
This meant Cosafa was supposed to switch the fixtures, with Malawi and Zambia meeting in the final while South Africa would have played Tanzania in the other semi-final.
But Cosafa media officer Lynda Greeff said the tournament’s organising committee decided not to change the fixtures.
She said: “Tournament regulations do permit the organising committee [OC] to change the semi-final fixtures if two teams that are paired together come from the same group.
“This can be done at their discretion. However, the OC decided before the today’s set of Group C matches that they would not change the semi-final fixtures, no matter who emerged as the best-placed runner-up.”
Malawi lost 2-1 to Banyana, but Scorchers co-coach McNebert Kazuwa said they are ready to play any team in the semi-finals.
He said: “We don’t have any problem; we prepared to face any team at the tournament.”
Scorchers forward Asimenye Simwaka said they were excited to reach the semi-finals.
“Who we face does not matter at this point. What matters most is that we have made it to the semis and we are ready for any team,” she said.
The Scorchers topped the runners-up table with six points and a goal difference of +2.
Second-placed Zimbabwe, who also had six points, have +1 goal difference.