The Malawi national women’s football team leaves this morning for Cosafa Women Championship at Nelson Mandela Bay in South Africa.
Coach Abel Mkandawire announced his final 20-player squad yesterday which is without captain Tabitha and Temwa Chawinga, who have club commitments in China and Sweden, respectively.
“I can say we are now ready for Cosafa challenge and we are geared for a good start against Madagascar this Wednesday,” he said.
The Chawinga sisters last donned the national team uniform at Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa Championship two years ago when they emerged as the country’s best scorers, having notched eight and four goals, respectively. Tabitha was also the competition’s second best scorer as she was just two goals behind eventual Golden Boot Award winner Rutendo Makore of Zimbabwe.
During the 2018 Cosafa edition, Malawi scored two goals in three matches and the Chawinga sisters’ absence was also described as one of the reasons the national team failed to progress to the next round.
Then, Malawi lost 0-2 to Botswana and won by a similar margin against Madagascar. They also suffered a 0-6 defeat by South Africa.
“Although the absence of the Chawinga sisters is a setback, we are confident with the striking force we have in the likes of Sabina Thom, Mary Chavinda, Linda Kasenda and Asimenye Simwaka,” said Mkandawire.
Chimwemwe Madise, who has been named stand-in captain and is deputised by Towera Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda, said the team is ready for the tournament.
The final squad has Thom, Kasenda, Simwaka, Chavinda, Madise, Vinkhumbo-Nyirenda, Zainab Kapanda, Emily Jossam, Bridget Mkuzilire, Fatsireni Kazembe, Ruth Nyirongo,Chikondi Gondwe, Enelesio Mhango, Mercy Sikelo, Patricia Nyirenda, Maureen Phiri, Samir Amidu, Wezzie Mvula and Sheila Dimba. The technical panel comprises Mkandawire, assistant coaches Andrew Chikhosi and MacNebark Kadzuwa, goalkeeper trainer Chimwemwe Chitedze, fitness trainer Chisomo Nkhoma, team doctor Elita Chinoko and team manager Clara Luhanga.