Malawi national women’s football team has been dealt a big blow after two star players based in Europe Chisomo Kazitsonga and Tabitha Chawinga will not finish the tournament due to club commitment.
Malawi National Women’s Football League president Siveria Chalira confirmed the development saying Tabitha Chawinga, who plays in Sweden with Knarsveden will be required to return on September 17 barely four days after the official kickoff of the tournament.
Chalira was reacting to the reasons the two to professionals did not join training in Malawi before the tournament.
“Their teams only allowed them for a specific period Tabitha is even wanted back pa 17 before the tournament ends. They will join us in Bulawayo on Sunday their air tickets are direct to Bulawayo,” Chalira said.
The national team left on Saturday led by coach Stuart Mbolembole, with women’s football legend Maggie Chombo Sadick being his first assistant and fomer Nyasa Big Bullets top striker Andrew Chikhosi is second assistant coach.
Malawi coach Stuart Mbolembole has included two overseas-based players in his squad for the 2017 COSAFA Women’s Championship to be staged in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe from September 13-24.
Austria-based defender Kazisonga from the Altera Porta club and striker Tabitha Chawinga, who plays in Sweden with Knarsveden IK, are set to join the squad in Zimbabwe this coming weekend.
The pair will add experience and know-how to the Malawi team who have high hopes of a good showing at the regional showpiece competition.
The 20-player squad also features six players from the DD Sunshine club, five from Blantyre Zero and four from four from Skippers FC.
Malawi have been drawn in a difficult Group A that also includes hosts Zimbabwe, Zambia and Madagascar.
They reached the semifinals when the competition was last played, also in Zimbabwe in 2011, but were ousted by eventual runners-up South Africa.
Malawi will open their 2017 campaign against Zambia (September 13), before clashes with Madagascar (September 15) and Zimbabwe (September 17). All of these matches will be played at the Barbourfields Stadium.
The top team in each pool advances to the semifinals, along with the best second-placed side.
Goalkeepers: Memory Gama (Skippers FC), Martha Banda (Blantyre Zero)
Defenders: Chisomo Kazisonga (Altera Porta, Austria), Emily Jossam, Fatsireni Kazembe (both Skippers FC), Patricia Nyirenda (Ntopwa Super Queens), Chimwemwe Madise, Ruth Nyirongo, Wezzie Mvula (all DD Sunshine)
Midfielders: Madidna Nguluwe, Eluby Bottoman, Sabinnah Thom (all DD Sunshine), Chikondi Gondwe (CY Sisters), Pilirani Malora, Lucy Chiumia (both Blantyre Zero), Shira Dimba (Skippers FC)
Strikers: Tabitha Chawinga (Knarsveden IK, Sweden), Temwa Chawinga, Mary Chavinda (both Blantyre Zero), Rachael Mwale (Moyale Women’s FC)