With limited support, Malawi women’s football team made an impressive showcase at the Confederation of Southern Africa Football Associations (Cosafa) in South Africa.
Soft-spoken Malawi national women’s football coach Abel Mkandawire attributed the performance to players’ determination and team spirit.
“It’s all about teamwork, determination and spirit of sacrifice. In our Group A, we had very strong teams but we managed to beat Madagascar 2-0 and Comoros 13-0 and bravely lost to hosts and world class South Africa 3-1. This also showed that the work-rate is there.
“We are impressed and delighted with this performance,” he said.
However, Mkandawire appealed for financial support to sustain the cohesion of the team.
“What is needed now is the support to maintain the team by having friendly games,” he said.
Speaking in an interview vice-captain Towera Vinkhumbo Nyirenda said with more financial support, the team can become a force to reckon with in the region.
“We [players] felt proud that this is not the same team that used to lose by big margins. We all know that this is a changed team. We are not afraid of any team as shown by the South Africa game,” she said.
Commenting on support Vinkhumbo Nyirenda said it can push the team to do better.
“We need more support from all stakeholders. We need friendly games more often,” she said.
National Women’s Football Association of Malawi (NWFA) president Suzgo Ngwira hailed the players, saying they have come of age.
“Women’s football has matured in the country and all the girls are at their peak. We also have a very good technical panel and FAM is also doing everything possible to develop the game,” said Ngwira.
She also said the Cosafa tournament was a good preparation towards the Olympic qualifiers against Kenya on August 28 in Blantyre with return set for a week later.
In an interview, football analyst George Kaudza Masina said there is more to be done for football to attract sponsors.
“One of the issues that arise when it comes to sponsorship is how do we market the game. Sometimes we blame sponsors before administrators reach out to them.
“Football sponsorship cannot be charity. However, I also believe that companies have an obligation to assist on matters of national interest such as sponsoring teams,” he said.