Africa-Press – Malawi. The Malawi National Football Team started their Cosafa Women’s Championship preparations with a record 17-0 victory over Seychelles in the first of the two arranged international friendly matches at Mpira Stadium on Monday afternoon.
Vanessa Chikupira, Chikondi Gondwe, and Temwa Chawinga scored a hat-trick, Sabina Thom, and Leticia Chinyamula recording a brace, with Sarah Mlimbika, Carol MatcholaIreen Khumalo and Rose Kamzere scoring a brace each.
To say that the match was one-way traffic would be a massive understatement as the Scorchers rattled up their biggest ever victory in international football. The hosts broke the deadlock in the 8th minute through a well taken freekick from Khumalo after Thom was fouled closer to the penalty box.
Chikupira should have doubled the lead four minutes later when he was found in a one-on-one one situation with the goalkeeper, but her goal-bound shot was well blocked by Reena Esther for a cornerkick which was easily defended by the visitors.
Kamzere doubled the tally with a powerful drive outside the penalty box in the 15th minute when he was set up by Chikupira. Thom added the third goal three minutes later with a simple tap in after the hosts outnumbered Seychelles’ defense to cause a commotion that resulted in a goal.
It was now wave after wave as Thom saw her powerful header hitting the post, and moments later, she registered her name on the scoresheet with an individual brilliance goal, dribbling past Dimara Juwe before slotting the ball into an empty net, 4-0.
Chikupira turned from a provider to a scorer in the 31st minute when she dribbled past Juwe before putting the ball into the net, 5-0. The visitors’ Alicha Matatikeni gifted Chikupira her second goal to hit the sixth goal and possibly put the game beyond their reach.
Mlimbika scored one of the beautiful goals on the day when she hit the roof of the net from the outside the penalty box to make it 7-0. Chikupira completed her hat-trick with two minutes left to play when she capitalized on a goalkeeping error from Juwe, making it 8-0 before the recess.
After the halftime, coach Lovemore Fazili made nine changes to the side that started the match by only maintaining Madina Nguluwe and Bernadetta Mkandawire, with the likes of Chawinga, Chinyamula, Gondwe, Martha Cosmas, Lyness Mbera, Rose Alufandika and Carol Mathula all introduced in the final half.
Matchola was on the scoresheet in the 52nd minute after she found herself to the receiving end of Nguluwe’s long-range pass. Chinyamula was the latest to hit the back of the net when she exchanged passes with Matchola before beating Juwa to her near post and into the net, 10-0.
The visitors introduced Rahima Moumou for Juwa, and moments after coming in, Gondwe welcomed her with a beautiful goal when she connected well from a Chawinga’s million dollar pass into the box, 11-0.
Chawinga registered her first goal of the match just after the half-hour mark when she took on three defenders before hitting the back of the net with a powerful shot, 12-0.
The visitors brought in Clara Libatonis and Janella Moustache for Venisa Cesar and Rannia Cherry to try to fix their porous defense, which was under siege from the hosts.
Chawinga doubled her tally in the 76th minute with an easy finish before completing her hat-trick in the 78th minute with another easy finish after she was set through by Matchola to make it 14-0.
Three more goals followed in the 81st minute through Gondwe, in the 82nd minute through Chinyamula and the last one from Gondwe who completed her hat-trick on 87th minute to make it 17-0 in favor of Fazili’ ladies.
The two teams will complete the final friendly match on Thursday at the same venue. Speaking to the media after the match, Fazili said he was not focusing on the scoreline but rather the performance of his girls as they continued fine-tuning for the regional tournament.
“About the goals, I can’t say read much, but I am happy with the performance from the girls. We are trying to build a new team around these experienced players and the youngsters who impressed me today with the help of the likes of Temwa Chawinga. All in all, it was a good performance from my team.
“There is still more work to do before we travel to South Africa. We still need to polish here and there as you saw how we were oftentimes caught offside, something that needs to be fixed, but winning has brought confidence and motivation ahead of the tournament because this shows how eager the players are to do well,” he said.
Speaking on behalf of the players, Chawinga repeated calls to the corporate world to support women’s football. “Companies should come in to sponsor women’s football just like the way they sponsor men’s football to improve the game and produce more talent for the women’s national football team so that we should be able to compete at the highest level,” she said.
Seycheles Coach Florence Marie said her charges gained more from the first friendly match than her counterparts. “I am very proud of how my team has played. We are a young team comprising of youngsters, and I am very proud of what we have achieved today. We are still young, we are still learning, and we have gained more from this friendly match than our counterparts, and we will definitely continue to improve with time.
“We are not preparing for Cosafa. Our friends are. We are aiming to one day be at the highest level. We are still learning and gaining more from experienced sides like Malawi. It will take three to four years for us to be where we want to be because they are very young and they still need to gain more exposure from these type of games,” she said.