Malawi women’s football national team yesterday arrived safely in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, for the 2019 Cosafa Women’s Championship.
The team, which left Blantyre on Sunday for Lilongwe, flew out to Johannesburg yesterday from Kamuzu International Airport.
National Women’s Football Association (NWFA) chairperson Suzgo Ngwira, who has accompanied the team, said in an interview from Johannesburg that the team had a safe flight before connecting to Port Elizabeth.
Stand-in captain Chimwemwe Madise, who is leading the team in the absence of China-based Tabitha Chawinga, said they are geared for the tournament with an aim of qualifying for the semi-final.
“We are ready. After the training we had, I can comfortably say we can make it to the semis,” she said.
Coach Abel Mkandawire was also confident that the team can make it.
“The morale in camp is high,” he said.
Malawi is in Group A alongside hosts and defending champions South Africa, Comoros and Madagascar.
Malawi starts the campaign against Madagascar tomorrow before facing the hosts on Friday and Comoros on Monday.
Group B contains Zambia, Namibia, Mauritius and Botswana.
Zimbabwe,Mozambique, Angola and Eswatini (formerly Swaziland) headline Group C.
Only the top team in each pool advances to the semifinals, along with the best second-place finisher.
Meanwhile, Chawinga has urged the players to have self-belief.
“They should have self-belief and confidence that they will deliver. They should not underrate any team. Football has changed nowadays. I have trust that they will deliver,” she said.
Council for Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) will hold both women’s senior and Under-20 tournaments at the same time but Malawi is participating in the seniors tournament only.
Cosafa deputy chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda, who is responsible for competitions, said they decided to hold the two competitions at the same time as South Africa commemorates women’s month.