South Africa…..(1)3 (T. Shamase 44’, Nkuna 79’, S. Shamase90’) 

Malawi…………(2)4 (Chinyamula 27’, T. Chawinga 45’, 60’, 76’)

5 October 2023 – Banyana Banyana began their COSAFA Women’s Championship campaign on a disappointing noteafter a defeat to Malawi in their opening Group A match at the Lucas Moripe Stadium on Wednesday. 

Coach Desiree Ellis’ charges did not have a great start to the match and had to contend with a forced substitution as early as the 13th minute after a collision in the box. The Sasol-sponsored South African senior women’s team lost Raesetja Mogale to injury and she was replaced by MorongwaManamela. 

Malawi, who dominated the game and were more threatening in the first half, found the breakthrough goal in the 20th minute through Leticia Chinyamula. But Thubelihle Shamase responded for the hosts in the 44th minute to snatch theequaliser. 

Temwa Chawinga regained the lead for the ambitious Malawi side a minute later and the visitors were back in the driver’s seat at the halftime break. Despite the setback, Banyana Banyana started to settle and tried to get back into the game. But Chawinga’s brace in the 64th minute set the team back again and suddenly there was a huge mountain to climb for the home side. Chawinge completed her hattrick in the 76th minute.

Ellis made a few changes as she tried to find a solution to stop the rampant Malawians. Khensani Nkuna eventually scored the second goal for South Africa in the 78th minute and there werehopes of a comeback at the Lucas Moripe Stadium.

Sphumelele Shamase joined her twin on the score sheet when she slotted past Mercy Sikelo in the 90th minute, but the late fightback was not enough to salvage an equalizer and it was Malawi who walked away with the victory. 

Ellis had this week expressed the difficulty she faced in putting together a team for the COSAFA Women’s Championship as the tournament falls outside of the FIFA window, and the Hollywoodbets Super League is still in full swing. She was finally able to put her squad together despite the short preparation time. 

She said Malawi capitalized on her team’s mistakes during the match and managed to win the two side’s opening game of the tournament.

“When we came into this game, we had not had a training session together. But as I said in the beginning, a lot of these players have either played with each other or against each other at some time,” she said. 

“We said to the players this is an opportunity to show who needs to go with us. We only had one player here who went to the FIFA Women’s World Cup (20 July to 20 August 2023) and it is the third-choice goalkeeper Kebotseng Moletsane, who was the captain in this game. Some of the players we brought in earned their first caps and I thought we did really well (under the circumstances). We made mistakes and they punished us. I don’t think they really worked hard for any goal except maybe the fourth one, which I still feel we could have dealt with better.”