Another free match today but the Malawi national women’s football team was not as free at scoring in a tightly tensed match against Kenya although a 3-2 win was all that made sense out of the day.
The two sides locked horns on a sunny Wednesday at the Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre marking the start of their 2020 Tokyo Olympic Second Round Qualification target.
Fans trekked in the stadium and were welcomed by the usual antics of the two Chawinga sisters Tabitha and Temwa who mesmerized the home’s side’s early exchanges.
Medina Ngulube scored from a free kick beating Kwamasi Annedy in the visitors’ goalposts just after 13 minutes and after that the She Flames escalated their attack upfront.
The visitors banked on the height of Corazone Aquino who proved lethal over Ngulube, Wezzie Mvula in midfield and Sabina Thom in the wings at bay seeing them out in the long balls.
Forced off to a water break after twenty minutes the She Flames lost touch missing passes through the frontline and Kenya kept dominating throughout.
Cynthia Shilwatso had her name on the score sheet with a strenuously taken free kick to no match of Samir Amidu manning the posts.
Before recess a quick firing goals came from Tabitha who prowessly dribbled past Vivian Nasaka and Dorcas Sikobe before firing into the net and earned a scintillating ovation from the stands.
Tabitha was on fire again scoring from the spot kick after the visitors were penalised as Sikobe pulled the jersey off Temwa who was in control of the ball inside the box.
As the fans stood in the stands so did Tabitha facing the ball against Annedy sending her the wrong side from the spot and the Malawi side headed to halftime with a cushioned 3-1 lead.
The heated encounter seemingly appeared to be in She Flames’ radar ahead of the second half only for Mwanalima Adam to capitalize on defensive lapses with the visitors heading for the second goal in the 81st minute just after the home side pulled off towering defender Towera Vinkhumbo.
This threw away all the colourful exchanges the home side displayed through Salome Vinkhumbo, Mvula and Maureen Phiri.
Substitute Simonyi Simwaka should have scored in the very last minute only to unskillfully hit the ball into the net after Thom played a scintillating cross from the right flank.
At full time, the She Flames carried on a narrow 3-2 win implying a tight second leg encounter awaits this Sunday in Kenya.
Abel Mkandawire, the man in the She Flames dug out was proud of his charges before admitting the team has to prepare heavily for the second leg as they conceded two goals.
His counterpart Ouma David was upbeat her charges will come back to the field over the weekend to carry the day and said they faced a creative and good Malawi side.
The winner of the two-legged tie will play Gabon or Ghana.