Malawi National Women’s Football Team coach Lovemore Fazili says he is hopeful his charges will gel in time ahead of the Hollywoodbets Cosafa Women’s Championship in South Africa next month.
Scorchers have been inactive for over a year yet the technical panel has only two weeks to select players, build cohesion and shape-up combinations before the regional competition while all their Group A opponents South Africa, Madagascar and e-Swatini have been involved in competitive and friendly matches throughout the year.
The last time the national women’s football team was in action was in August 2022 when they participated in the Cosafa Women’s Championship last edition.
Recently, the team pulled out from the the 2024 Olympic Women’s Football QualifyingTournament.
Players on the domestic scene have also been active for only two months through participation in the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Women’s League, the only domestic competition for women footballers.
“The prolonged inactivity is really a big concern for us and the short camping period makes matters worse. However, we will try our best to put the players back in shape before the tournament,” Fazili said.
The coach explained that the upcoming two international friendlies against Seychelles next Monday and Thursday at Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre are a big relief.
“We believe these strength-testing matches will help to make-up for the inactivity period as we will be able to quickly analyse our strengths and weaknesses before fine-tuning the squad,” Fazili said.
In the last edition, the Scorchers failed to make a successive semi-final grade after losing 3-1 to the then defending champions Tanzania in a group decider.
National Women’s Football Association (NWFA) chairperson Adelaide Migogo believes if the technical panel does its job well, the Scorchers are capable of going all the way to the finals.
She said they negotiated for the friendlies with Seychelles, Mauritius and United Arab Emirates during the recent Women’s World Cup in Australia and Seychelles were the first to accept.
“We felt it was not on to go to Cosafa without a single international friendly after such a long time of inactivity. We are happy that Seychelles accepted our request and agreed to use own transport. These rare friendlies will help us a lot,” she said.
The Scorchers will start their Cosafa campaign against hosts South Africa on October 4 before taking on e-Swatini three days later and wrapping up their group fixtures against Madagascar on October 10.
Group B has Angola, Comoros, Zambia and Mozambique while Group C has Zimbabwe, Namibia,Lesotho and Botswana.