The Malawi National Women’s Football Team on Monday got a hearty welcome on return from their historic Cosafa Women’s Championship triumph in South Africa.
The Scorchers won the tournament after dethroning Zambia’s Copper Queens with a 2-1 victory on Sunday to spark spontaneous celebrations back home.
They were greeted to a defeaning roar as they appeared from the Malawian Airlines flight at Chileka International Airport in Blantyre.
There were electrifying sights and sounds as the Scorchers were ushered to the VIP enclosure following their defining tour of national duty.
Later on, as Scorchers stand-in captain Temwa Chawinga hoisted their sparkling trophy in an open-roof vehicle while her teammates waved the Malawian flag from windows of their team bus between Chileka International Airport and Blantyre City, there were cheers from jubilant fans that filled the streets.
No one could blame the Scorchers for causing traffic jam with the trophy parade.
This was no mean achievement as it was their first time to win the title after over a decade of trying and it could not have been any better than defeating the holders.
In an interview, Temwa described the feat as a big statement that women’s football has the potential to put the country on the map if supported .
“It is now time for women’s football in the country to be treated in the same breath as the men’s game. We need an equal share of the sponsorship cake from the corporate world.
“As women’s football players, we lack a lot of things and we are happy that this triumphant return home has raised awareness about our needs,” She Saud.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu and National Women’s Football Association (NWFA) chairperson Adelaide Migogo concurred with Temwa that women’s football has been undermined for far too long.
Said Nyamilandu: “Prior to the Cosafa event, the Scorchers failed to join other prestigious competitions such as the African Championship due to lack of funds. With this success, we hope to get more corporate support towards women’s football.”
On her part, Migogo said: “If the Scorchers can afford to bring home a Cosafa trophy with meagre resources, what more if they have everything on the table? I think the message is clear to the corporate world.”
Minister of Youth and Sports Uchizi Mkandawire said government is committed to developing women’s football in the country as the latest success is enough proof of their great potential.
The Scorchers won the 12-team tournament after winning all their five matches, culminating in a 2-1 triumph over Zambia in the final.
They set the ball rolling by beating hosts and record seven-time champions South Africa’s Banyana Banyana 3-4, before thumping e-Swatini 8-0. They wrapped up their Group A assignments with a 3-1 win over Madagascar. In the semi-finals, Malawi edged Mozambique 2-1.
In individual awards, Temwa bagged the Player of the Tournament and Golden Boot awards
Before the K60 million sponsorship from Prophet Shepherd Bushiri’s Goshen City, Malawi women’s football had endured over a decade of lack of support from the corporate world.
Despite producing a number of foreign-based players such as China-based Temwa and her sister Tabitha, who plays for French giants PSG, Malawi women’s football only relied on financial support from FAM.