February 28, 2021

‘We’re both African stars’ – Tabitha Chawinga relishes Barbra Banda showdown in China

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The two strikers have enjoyed an incredible start to the season and the Malawian is keen to renew their rivalry on Saturday

Jiangsu Suning striker Tabitha Chawinga is relishing the opportunity to renew her rivalry with Shanghai Shengli counterpart Barbra Banda in Saturday’s Chinese Women’s Super League clash in Kunming.

The African duo last faced each other at the Cosafa Women’s Cup in 2017 when Banda scored once as Zambia thrashed Malawi 6-3 despite Chawinga bagging a hat-trick in Zimbabwe.

Following a back-to-back CWSL Best Player of the Year awards, Chawinga has maintained her dominance in China, scoring four goals in four matches on her third season with Jiangsu.

Banda moved to the Asian nation from Spanish side Logrono in January and has continued to impress for Shanghai, finding the back of the net in all four outings to emerge topscorer with five goals.

After a 1-0 first-leg win, Jiangsu suffered their only defeat of the campaign in a 3-1 loss to runners-up Shanghai last season but still finished eight points clear to clinch their first title since 2009.

Since the Zambian’s arrival, Shanghai has continued to run riot, securing 12 points from four matches to claim the top spot and the Malawian is aiming to help Jiangsu derail their impressive run. 

“I feel happy to see her [Barbra Banda] in China. I’m really glad that another African is doing well here,” Chawinga told Goal.

“On Saturday, I think it’s really going to be an interesting match. We are both African stars and everybody will be anxious to see what we can do on the pitch.

“Shanghai is a good team and will give us another good test just like Wuhan. Banda is a fantastic player as well. 

“However, for us [Jiangsu] as the champions, we are gradually improving and hoping to finish as high as possible in the first round.

“We lost against Wuhan but we cannot blame anybody for the defeat because we lost as a team and always win as a team as well. 

“Now, we have gained a lot of confidence from our last victory and we will continue to work hard and strive to win all our matches.”

Chawinga will be aiming to increase her goal tally and inspire third-placed Jiangsu to victory in a bid to close the gap against Shanghai.

While, Banda will be keen to add to goal account to maintain topscorer status and help Shanghai open a six-point gap over their champions.