By Peter Makossah
For her, her exploits and conquests, it appears, it was all written in the stars; but will her football ancestral gods smile in her pursuit for the Italian glory?
Italy-based Malawian women’s football star left-nimble footed Tabitha Chawinga, who is currently enjoying a rich vein of form and tops the Serie A league scorers’ chart, could become the first African to win the league’s golden boot in history.
The Malawi Women National team, popularly known as the Scorchers, captain finished the first phase with 16 goals, three above second-placed Cristina Girelli of Juventus going into the final phase which involves the five top teams.
In its first phase summary, allforxi.com reported that since the league’s formation in 1971, no player from outside Europe has managed that feat.
“If she maintains that position, she would be the first African player to win the golden boot honours,” Reads the report in part.
In an interview with Mojatu Online, the 26-year-old Inter Milan forward said she learnt about her prospects of making history when she was interviewed by the Italian television station last week.
She said: “Obviously, it would be a big achievement not only for me as an individual, but my club and my country as well.
“But I do not want that to distract my focus to help my team finish in the top two so that we qualify for the European Women’s Champions League.”
On her chances of winning the award, Chawinga said the journey is still on and anything can happen, because the final phase will be played on round robin and that translates to eight matches for each team.
“So, I think any of the three top scorers have a good chance of winning it. I will keep on working hard and see what will happen in the end.”
Italian Daniela Sabatino of Sassuolo won the award last season with 15 goals while Girelli won it the previous two seasons after netting 16 and 22 goals, respectively.
The Malawi National Women’s Football Association president Suzgo Ngwira-Simbi told a Malawian national daily newspaper, The Nation, she has no doubts that Tabitha will achieve the feat.
She said: “She is on top of her game now and I don’t see her slowing down. “Tabitha has proved that she is among the best women footballers in the world. She is on fire, and we are proud of her exploits.”
Tabitha was yet again on target last Saturday for Inter as they bowed out of the Coppa Italia Women’s in the semi-finals after being walloped 3-2 by Juventus on goal aggregate in a match that ended 2-1 after Juventus snatched the winner in extra time.
Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir scored the opener for Juve in the second minute before Tabitha cancelled the lead in the 83rd minute, but Lineth Beerensteyn claimed the winner for Juve in the 100th minute.
Tabitha is the third leading scorer in the competition with three goals, two behind joint leading scorers Girelli and AC Milan’s Martina Piemonte, and is out of contention for the top scorer award.
Chawinga, who launched her career with Lilongwe outfit DD Sunshine, has joined the team from Chinese side Wuhan Jiangda.
Tabitha left behind her younger sister, Temwa Chawinga in China, who is also a topnotch striker for Wuhan Jiangda.
“She is on top of her game now and I don’t see her slowing down.”Suzgo Ngwira-Simbi
Malawi National Women’s Football Association president