Malawi made history with their first ever COSAFA title, defeating last year’s champions Zambia 2-1 in the final at the Lucas Moripe Stadium in Pretoria. The victory marks significant progress for the Malawi national team.
The match marked the second attempt at glory for Malawi after their 2021 defeat to tournament guests Tanzania. However, this time was to be a celebration for the surprise package side. McNebert Kazuwa‘s Malawi managed to score two past a resolute Zambia side.
It took 35 minutes before the deadlock was broken by the eventual champions. MDF Lioness striker Asimenye Simwaka calmly finished to make it 1-0 with a slotted strike past 19-year-old goalkeeper Leticia Lungu.
Drama ensued though as Zambia surely thought they had done enough when they pulled it back to 1-1 in the 84th minute. An Agnes Phiri converted a penalty, galvanising the defending champions.
It was almost a script-like finish to the game, nonetheless. The winning goal scored by TP Mazembe forward Sabina Thom fell in the very last minutes of the game in added time.
What it means for the nation
There are hopes that this will push Malawi up the FIFA rankings. The nation currently sits in 159th position, their lowest-ever ranking in history. The expectation for manager Kazuwa is to get much closer to the nation’s previous best of 110th in 2018.
Malawi will now be able to go into their AFCON qualifiers with high morale. A competition they had never qualified for previously.
How did the rest of the nations fare?
Third place was claimed by Mozambique as they saw off Zimbabwe. Another piece of history sealed in this tournament, with their previous best being fourth place back in 2002.
The Golden Boot was taken home by Malawi striker and legend Temwa Chawinga. The 25-year-old is currently plying her trade in China with University side, Wuhan Jianghan.