Vinkhumbo was only able to link up with the soccer squad late last week after arriving home from the global netball finals in Liverpool, where Malawi finished in a credible sixth position.
“I am happy that finally I have joined the squad,” Vinkhumbo said. “I know the team has been working hard and I also must work hard in the remaining days to show the coach that I deserve to be in the team.
“I don’t think I will struggle to catch up with them because the fitness trainings we were doing with the [Netball] Queens kept me in shape.” Vinkhumbo has now fully turned her attention to the COSAFA Women’s Championship and says she wants to help the She-Flames improve on their last two years in the regional competition.
“Our past two outings were not successful as we failed to go past the group stages. Last year we lost 6-0 against South Africa and we are meeting them again. We want to do better this time around,” she said. “Our target is to reach the semifinals and Malawians should have trust in us and support us.”
Mkandawire believes Vinkhumbo is going to catch up but urged her to prove that she will add value in South Africa. “She is a good player with lots of experience and brings a lot of stability in the team. Her fitness levels are superb but now she has to prove on the pitch if she will be able to adapt to our tactical orientations that we have been doing in the past days,” said Mkandawire.
The team arrived in Port Elizabeth on Monday evening (29 July) they will open their Group A campaign with a meeting against Madagascar on Wednesday. They then face the hosts on Friday, before rounding out their pool play against Comoros on August 5.
The COSAFA Women’s Championship will be played in Nelson Mandela Bay from July 31-August 11.