Tabitha Chawinga scored a hattrick as Malawi took charge of Group C at the 2022 HOLLYWOODBETS COSAFA Women’s Championship with a 6-0 victory over Comoros at the Madibaz Stadium on Monday.
The victory leaves the Scorchers top of the pool going into the final round of games, where victory against defending champions Tanzania will ensure they finish top.
But should their clash finish in a draw, and Botswana beat Comoros, that will leave all three teams on five points and officials will need to get their calculators out to check the head-to-head scenario.
It looks to be the tightest of the groups, where two teams who finish on five points could yet advance to the semifinals.
Malawi took the lead on 17 minutes as Fazila Chembekezo looped a header over Comoros goalkeeper Aicha Said after a period of heavy pressure.
It took until the second half for the Scorchers to secure a second goal as Rose Kadzere fired home from the edge of the six-yard box.
After that it became the Chawinga show as she netted a hattrick inside 19 minutes, her first a close-range tap-in, the second a cool finish after she beat the offside trap, and finally a thunderous strike from inside the box.
Wezzie Mvula had been a thorn in the side for Comoros all game and netted Malawi’s sixth as she too ran in behind the islanders’ defence and rounded the goalkeeper.
Tanzania and Botswana played to an entertaining 0-0 draw in the second match of the day, with chances at either end and both goalkeepers in top form.
Tanzania perhaps shaded the opportunities but could not convert in what is a second successive draw for The Mares.
The east African guest nation will likely be the happier of the two sides, but last season’s beaten finalists Malawi can avenge their defeat in the 2021 decider when the teams meet in the final pool game on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Groups A and B will both be concluded on Tuesday with the final round of matches in each pool played concurrently.
They will kick-off at 12h00 (10h00 CAT) with matches in Group B as Lesotho to take on Namibia at the Madibaz Stadium and Eswatini to tackle already qualified Zambia at the Isaac Wolfson Stadium.
The key battle is the one between Lesotho and Namibia, with both aiming for a win that could potentially see them qualify as the best placed runner-up, though Lesotho would probably have to significantly better their goal-difference as well.
Zambia will be looking for a full haul of nine points when they take on an Eswatini side who have lost both of their games so far.
Later in the afternoon it will be the turn of the combatants in Group A as winless Mauritius take on Angola at the Madibaz Stadium (kick-off 15h30 CAT), while at the same time South Africa meet Mozambique at the Wolfson Stadium.
South Africa must avoid defeat to advance in top spot, while a win for Mozambique will put them through and leave the hosts sweating over the best runner-up position.