Abel Mkandawire Coach for Malawi women’s national football team has said availlabity of overseas-based strikers Captain Tabitha Chawinga and her younger sister Temwa is a boost for Malawi in the Olympic Qualifier against Kenya at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on 26 August.
Chawinga sisters who scored 4 and 6 goals, respectively when Malawi defeated Mozambique 14-1 on goal aggregate in the first-round, though missed Cosafa Women’s Championship in south Africa, they are expected to join the national team early this week.
Mkandawire said in an interview yesterday, that the team, which regroups today at Mpira Village in Blantyre, in preparation for the encounter, has improved and the two sisters will enhance the team’s cohesion.
He said although Kenya banks on six overseas-based professionals against Malawi’s two, his side is not scared.
“With the great improvements we made at Cosafa, we can take on any team on the continent, and with the addition of the Chawinga sisters, we can beat any team,” he said.
Mkandawire, however, said during their camping, they will still work on tightening their defence, improve on ball possession and sharpen ball passing accuracy.
Tabitha said she and her sister are ready to represent the country.
“I watched the team’s matches at Cosafa and I noticed a great improvement among my team-mates. Previously, only a few players were committed and we mostly lacked coordination, but now they are giving their all and, once we join the team in few days to come, I have no doubt that we will beat Kenya,” she said.
Tabitha said playing at home will also be an advantage as local fans give them the much-needed morale.
As we went to press, Tabitha said they had been released by their respective clubs—Jiangsu Suning and Kvarnsverden IK—but they were waiting for air tickets from the Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
If they beat Kenya, Malawi will face winners between Ghana and Gabon in the third-round of the qualifiers.
The Olympics are the significant event used for ranking teams and, if they qualify, the Malawi squad will make history as the first Malawi sports discipline to earn a slot through qualification.
At Cosafa, Malawi failed to progress to the semi-finals for the first time since 2011, but they appeared an improved side compared to their previous participation.