Malawi national women’s football team coach Lovemore Fazili believes time is ripe for the Scorchers to win the Cosafa Women’s Championship as they face defending champions Zambia in the final this afternoon.
Malawi is hoping to go one better than their historic final appearance in the 2021 edition, where they lost 1-0 to Tanzania after putting up a gallant fight.
On paper, the Zambians have an advantage ahead of the imminent showdown at Lucas Moripe Stadium in South Africa as they are coming from their debut appearance at the Women’s World Cup finals.
They are also ranked 69th in the world, at least 90 places higher than Malawi.
In spite of this, both have a balanced head-to-head record for their last five meetings as each won twice and drew once.
Malawi lost 7-0 before winning 4-2 in Women’s African Cup of Nations (Wafcon) qualifiers in 2012. They also triumphed 1-0 in Cosafa in 2020 prior to their one-all result and 3-2 loss in Wafcon qualifiers in 2021.
But buoyed by the Scorchers’ extra-ordinary performance at the on-going Cosafa Championship, where they are the only side with straight wins from the group stages Fazili feels there is no need to respect the Copper Queens.
“Tell the Zambians we have no respect for them. We are on a mission of taking the Cosafa title home. Taking into account our overall performance so far at this event, we do not see any reason why we should fail to wear the crown,” he said.
If the Scorchers’ statistical records for this year are anything to go by, then Fazili’s dream will definitely turn into reality.
Despite coming from a year-long inactivity, the women’s national football team returned to action with a bang; thrashed Seychelles twice by 17-0 margins in international friendlies before beating African champions South Africa 4-3, e-Swatini 8-0 and Madagascar 3-1 in Cosafa Women’s Championship Group A matches. On Friday, they came from behind in the last 15 minutes to beat Mozambique 2-1 in the last four.
This means they have scored 51 goals and conceded only five in six outings, yet their last action was in August 2022 at the previous Cosafa edition.
Scorchers stand-in captain Temwa Chawinga yesterday said they have left no stone unturned to make history this afternoon.
“We are getting into this final with all the confidence that we will win it. We do not see ourselves being stopped this time around,” she said.
The 25-year-old China-based striker is also chasing a personal dream of winning the golden boot and breaking the competition’s scoring record.
Chawinga leads the scorers’ chart with nine goals and needs a hat-trick this afternoon to equal the 12-goal record that South African Noko Matlou of South Africa achieved in 2008.