Lack of international friendlies and a competitive league are some of the factors stopping the Malawi national football team from making the grade on the continent.
In an interview on Wednesday, Scorchers captain Tabitha Chawinga head coach McNelbert Kazuwa, his assistant Andrew ‘Aluki’ Chikhosi and National Women’s Football Association (NWFA)..
chairperson Suzgo Ngwira have made the observation.
During last year’s Cosafa Women’s Cup in South Africa, Scorchers beat champions Banyana Banyana 3-2 in the semi-final and finished as runners-up following a 1-0 loss to guest participants Tanzania’s Twiga Stars.
The Scorchers have sisters Tabitha and Temwa Chawinga, impressing in China, but Malawi has never qualified for the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations (Wafcon).
Yet, their Cosafa counterparts South Africa, Zambia and Botswana are at the Wafcon finals in Casablanca, Morocco, where they have made it to the quarter-finals. Namibia also made it to the finals.
Zambia and South Africa have also qualified for the 2023 New Zealand World Cup after beating Senegal and Tunisia, respectively to reach the Wafcon semi-finals.
In an interview, Tabitha said Malawi’s recent rare feat at Cosafa tournament was a fruit of sheer determination by the players and the technical staff as all their counterparts had international friendlies prior to the contest.
“It is very unfair that in this age, where the world football governing body Fifa and many countries are taking women’s football seriously, Malawi is lagging behind,” she said.
Kazuwa and Chikhosi agreed that lack of competitive domestic league had been another setback.
He said: “To see fellow teams from the Cosafa bloc progressing at the Wafcon finals is very encouraging. It shows great improvements in the region. It is just a matter of time for us to compete at continental level. The introduction of the national league will further strengthen our team.”
On his part, Chikhosi said: “It is not easy to make the grade at continental level when your players compete in a domestic league, where few teams dominate and produce
extraordinary scorelines such as 20-0. With a strong league, we will regularly qualify for the finals.”
NWFA chairperson Ngwira said inadequate resources have been a thorn in the flesh for Malawi women’s football progress.
“We have the corporate world that hardly appreciates the potential of women’s football. Nevertheless, we expect greater improvements with the embracing of women’s teams by most elite football clubs following Fifa’s recent demands that all elite men’s football clubs should have women’s teams,” said Ngwira