Tabitha Chawinga leaves for Sweden

DD Sunshine women football club striker Tabitha Chawinga has set lofty targets of banging a hat-trick in every trial game she will undergo with Swedish Division One side Krokom/Dvarsatts IF from tomorrow.

The Malawi women football team burly forward spoke yesterday about her targets before departure from Lilongwe this morning for the three-week trials.  The 18-year-old becomes the first Malawian women football export to Europe.

Tabitha (R) gives farewell hug to her parents on Sunday
Tabitha (R) gives farewell hug to her parents on Sunday

“I am looking at a haul of 25 goals at the end of the trials. To achieve this, I need at least a hat-trick in every game. What makes me confident? It is all about patience, composure and calmness in front of goal. My boss [David Dube] and coach Andrew Chikhosi helped me perfect this,” Chawinga explained from Lilongwe.

The Form Three student has over 106 goals in her two-year DD Sunshine career and six for the national team. Last week, she scored nine goals in a single Donna’s Eggs match; hence, her target for Sweden is not an illusion.  Sunshine are based in Lilongwe.

“Ultimately, I want to play in Brazil or for Arsenal [ladies] team. This is possible. When I joined DD Sunshine, I set targets of playing for the national team strips and I have lived that dream. I am sure even if the Flames were open for females, I would be playing for them,” she said in the company of her mother KesterLuhanga.

The mother, who travelled from her Rumphi home to see off the third-born in a family of five, admitted that none of her family members have been to Europe; hence, Chawinga had made them proud.

Ndine wakukondwa chomene (I am very happy her). I pray that God should guide her,” said the mother who had discouraged Tabitha, as a child, from football.

Dube yesterday said Chawinga had all the attributes to excel in Europe as “she has masculine abilities not common among girls. She has unique strength, physique, pace, power, shooting and dribbling.”

Inviting the player recently, Dvasatts team manager Torsten Olofsson and head of ladies section Anders Funseth said they felt Chawinga could help improve the Swedish team’s performance this season.

“We will take good care of her during her stay here in Sweden and also help with the arrangement for food, lodging and transportation. We think that by this, we will not only help the player and her club but we will strengthen our team and increase the interest for the sport locally,” Olofsson and Funseth wrote jointly to Dube.

Dube established contacts with Krokom through the Lilongwe side’s former American player Melisa who now plays for the Swedish side which got impressed by Chawinga’s video clips. Two more players are being earmarked for another side in Europe end of this year.

Malawi national women football team hopes to bounce back into international competitions after a one-year absence. It has since 2003 participated in Cosafa Cup twice and the Nations Cup qualifiers. Sweden is ranked sixth out of 118 world women football national teams while Malawi is currently unranked due to the inactivity.

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