By Wellington Sibale and Antony Isaiah Jr
Malawi national women’s football team captain Tabitha Chawinga has completed a season long loan move to Italian Serie A femminile side Inter Milan.
Tabitha has signed a one year loan contract with Milan from Chinese women’s super league side Wuhan Jiangda.
The 26-year-old said the Italian club negotiated for a loan deal with an option for a permanent deal thereafter.
“I was accorded a warm welcome by Milan and I am really excited,” she said.
Chawinga added that she could not resist the temptation of playing in a top European league where she will get a real test of her pedigree competing against the best.
“After four to five years in China I needed a new challenge. I want to make my way back into the top 10 players in Africa and top 100 in the world and this is the ideal platform.” she said.
Former Scorchers captain Linda Kasenda has since said it is time for Tabitha to face a new challenge.
“This is a good move for her, I am sure she will advance her career in Italy,’’ Kasenda said.
In his reaction, Football Association of Malawi president Walter Nyamilandu said it is a breakthrough which shows that Tabitha is in a class of her own.
“This is an inspiration for upcoming talented girls and source of pride for Malawi.” said Nyamilandu.
On her part, National Women’s Football Association chairperson Suzgo Ngwira said the development is testimony that Chawinga is one of the best female players on the continent and in the world.
“She deserves to rub shoulders with her fellow best players in the world. This will inspire local football players that it is possible. We are very proud of her and we wish her well in her new challenge.” she said.
Tabitha started her career at DD Sunshine FC before moving to Europe where she had stints at Swedish side Krokon Dvaraatts FF, Wuhan Jiangsu where she played alongside her sister Temwa and current parent club Wuhan Jiangda.
Chawinga also attracted interest from France giants PSG but she prefered to join Inter Milan which approached her club directly while PSG used an agent.
Last season, Milan finished third in the Women Serie A behind champions, Juventus and Roma.
Chawinga is set to face stiff competition in the battle for a place as the team has five other international forwards, including Italy’s Gloria Marinelli and Regina Baresi, Belgian Ella Van Kerkhoven and Cameroonian star Ajara Nichout.
She has since ruled herself out of the Women’s Cosafa Championship scheduled for August 31 to September 11.