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Will Tabitha Chawinga finally get the recognition she deserves?

Despite consistently scoring goals around the globe, Tabitha Chawinga is still relatively unknown. As top scorer in Serie A last season, it seems strange there is so little talked about her. That may be because she plays for Malawi and hasn’t featured in a World Cup.

Chawinga’s early career

Starting at DD Sunshine in Lilongwe, Chawinga soon secured a move to play her football in Europe. After signing for Swedish third tier club, Krokom/Dvärsätts IF, she quickly showed her prowess in front of goal.

With 39 goals in 18 appearances in her first season, bigger clubs started to take notice. In the summer she was transferred to a bigger Swedish club, Kvarnsvedens IK in 2015.

It was a huge step up, but one Chawinga took in her stride. Her debut season saw her hit the back of the net 43 times, making her the league’s top scorer. She was third top scorer the following year with 15 goals, before reclaiming her title in 2017. But her 26 goals were not enough to prevent her team from being relegated.

To the Chinese Women’s Super League

Relegation didn’t stop interest in Tabitha Chawinga from top clubs around the world. She chose to move to China and joined Jiangsu Suning. Her first season there saw her hit 17 league goals (31 in all competitions). She was also named Player of the Year in the Chinese Women’s Super League (CWSL).

She went on to retain the personal award the following year. Chawinga scored 38 goals as Jiangsu Suning won the quadruple. But after sponsorship issues, she moved to Wuhan Jiangda, from where she headed back to Europe on loan. But this time, she joined a much bigger club.

European success

In 2022, Chawanga joined Inter Milan on a season-long loan deal. There, she scored 23 goals and was the top scorer in Serie A. Then it was back to her parent club before a loan to PSG. The Parisians compete at Europe’s top table and are often favourites with betting sites like Premier Bet Mozambique.

As well as being another step up in quality, this move gave Chawinga a chance to play in the Champions League. With interest in women’s football increasing, this saw her finally come to prominence. For all her goalscoring exploits, she’s yet to be in the running for the African Player of the Year Award.

No World Cup for Malawi

The 2023 Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand was the most watched in history. Four African teams made it to the tournament; Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco and Zambia. Of these, three qualified for the knockout stages.

Malawi has yet to qualify for a World Cup. But the team put themselves on the football map by winning the 2023 COSAFA Women’s Championship.

For Tabitha Chawinga, being crowned Africa’s best female player remains an ambition. She’s been nominated four times but has, so far, been overlooked. If she continues to score in higher-level competitions, that recognition can’t be far off.

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Edgar Naitha
Edgar Naitha
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