NEWS | SPORTS
By Sozo Kaperemera
All is set for National Women Football Association’s (NWFA) inaugural Rough Diamond tourney which is scheduled for this month in the capital Lilongwe.
According to NWFA’s chair, Siveria Chalira, the move aims at shaping and identifying talent to be shortlisted for national duties. Later in the year, the national team is to commence its preps for 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifiers later in the year.
“We believe that the tournament is going to exposure some hidden talents that can make it in national colours,” she hopes.
On his part, football analsyt George Chiusiwa commended the Rough Diamonds tournament as a progressive initiative that was longtime coming.
“This move is very important considering that women’s football in Malawi is dominated by few teams based in the cities of Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu while there is huge potential talent in other districts. The women’s football authorities ought to have such an initiative from way back so they could tap the talent from all corners of the country,” Chiusiwa said.
Chiusiwa also called on the NWFA to make this tourney an annual event as it is the only platform to help develop the women’s game in the country.
“This will ensure that the this talent identification exercise is very productive and is optimally utilised for the good of our game and targeting players from other districts in the Rough Diamonds tournament will go a long way in elevating women’s football in other parts of the country other than the four cities. Identified players during the tourney will also help the She-Flames in all the tiers of the women national team – U-17, U-20 and U-23,” says he.
Chiusiwa believes such a blueprint is the only guarantee for a stronger national team.
“That is the only way we can make strides in women’s football is by ensuring continuity and transition of national teams from the junior level to the senior. I believe that the planned tournament is an important tool to identify and select players for different levels of our She-Flames,” he said.
Malawi women’s team face Mozambique in the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games qualifiers between April 1 and 9.
The She-Flames performed poorly last year in South Africa during the Cosafa Championship where it lost two matches to South Africa and Botswana but only managed a single win against Madagascar.
FAM recently hosted Rough Diamonds tournament for men’s football involving three regional select teams, and First Capital Bank Under 20 select.