Flames lie in wait to torch Banyana Banyana in CosafaThomas Kwenaite
The 2021 COSAFA Women’s tournament gets underway in Nelson Mandela Bay metropolitan with the sad absence of three original members that seems to be constant absentees during the last couple of years.
As Angola gets proceedings underway against Mozambique and hosts South Africa entertains Malawi in a double-header programme, the absence of the three island members of the region – Comoros, Seychelles and Mauritius – stands out like a sore thumb.
The three Islanders have been replaced by East African opponents – Tanzania, Uganda and South Sudan – but the spotlight will certainly be focused on the hosts South Africa who enter the tournament after winning the Aisha Buhari Cup in Nigeria a fortnight ago.
“We played Malawi during the same stage of the 2018 COSAFA tournament,” said SA coach Desiree Ellis. “We also played them in 2019 where I remember we came from a goal down to eventually win 3-1.
“And during 2020, we met them in the semi-final stage of the tournament. In essence, Malawi have always been tough opponents. We have to be on top of our game at all times and stay focused because there are no longer so-called weak teams in international football.”
Meanwhile, Malawi coach Mcnelbert Kazuwa feels that their preparations for the tournament have gone well since their arrival in South Africa last Saturday and is confident his girls would go as far as possible in the tournament.
“Obviously the lack of game time for our girls would be a factor,” admitted Kazuwa. “Mind you, we are also playing not just the hosts, but a big country like South Africa and so, we expect a very tough game but we are ready.
“We have brought in some new players. But every team goes through a rebuilding process and consequently evolves. But once thing is certain and that is you cannot come to a tournament expecting to lose. The objective is to aim to reach the final and then anything is possible in the final.”