Scorchers say they are filled with the spirit of a lioness and are ready to beat Tanzania’s Twiga Stars (Giraffes) this afternoon’ in their maiden Cosafa Women’s Championship final at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium in South Africa.
The Malawi National Women’s Football Team exudes confidence after reaching the final of the Southern Africa region tournament for the first time following a historic 2-3 semi-final victory over hosts and holders Banyana Banyana on Thursday.
They are now facing the guest participants and reigning Cecafa champions Twiga Stars, who beat Zambia 3-2 on post-match penalties after their last-four clash ended one-all in regulation time.
Tanzania go into today’s showdown without registering a loss, having won all their four games, including three Group C matches, by scoring nine goals and conceding only a single goal in open play while Malawi qualified as the overall best runners up after notching nine goals and letting in six in four matches.
On head-to-head statistics, the Bakari Nyundo Shime-coached Tanzania side are also a better side as in their last meeting during an international friendly match in 2015, they beat Malawi 2-0.
However, Scorchers coach McNelbert Kazuwa believes nothing can stop the Scorchers from fulfilling their mission of lifting the Cosafa trophy this afternoon.
“We are a side that can beat any team if we play well. We have grown by leaps and bounds since our first match as we play a pressing game and are good on endurance,” he said.
“We know we are facing a hard-to-beat team but everything is possible if we summon our inner lion or lioness spirit to down the elephant. The girls are aware of this and are ready to deliver.”
However, he has since urged his charges against succumbing to complacency, saying such will derail their mission of a historic feat at Cosafa.
Kazuwa added that he will not make changes to the starting line up and will play attacking football right from the first whistle.
Scorchers’ stand-in captain Madyina Ngulube said they are filled with the fearless spirit and are determined to accomplish their mission.
“Winning the Cosafa tournament is a dream that has to be realised and we will fight to the end,” she said.
If all goes well, Malawi can as well clinch an individual accolade with striker Sabina Thom in contention for the golden boot award as she is among the five second leading scorers on three goals, just a goal behind leading scorer South Africa’s Sibulele Holweni.
On Thursday, Malawi took the lead thrice before securing victory against a side that had not lost a single match in the competition in the past two years and have been champions in the last seven editions. The development lifted the spirits of the Malawi football lovers, including Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu.
“Respect to the Scorchers for reaching Cosafa finals after beating Banyana Banyana 2-3. We dared the champions pound for pound and outclassed them. This is a sign of a revolution of Women’s football in Malawi,” he wrote on his Facebook page. The Cosafa tournament, which kicked off on September 28, attracted 12 teams, including three guest contestants from the Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan.