It does not get any sweeter than this. The general feeling was that, all what Malawi could point at as notable benefits of her relationship with China was some infrastructures such as hotels, schools and roads.
But time is challenging the perception as the benefiting are spanning beyond that, reaching to unexpected spheres of sports, and women football for that matter.
From an ordinary diplomatic relation, this is where the story of Malawi national women’s football team Captain, Tabitha Chawinga, is netting her glory.
The glory that saw the 21 year old inspiring her Chinese Women’s Super League side Jiangsu Sunning to a 3-0 victory over Dalian Aerbin to win the Chinese Women’s Super Cup.
She netted one goal in the second leg at home but scored a hat-trick in the 4-0 away victory in the first leg.
This is Tabitha’s second trophy in her debut season in China after she won the Chinese National Cup. In total, Tabitha has netted seven goals in the Chinese Super Cup.
In an interview from China, Tabitha said she was excited with her exploits in China.
“I am very happy to lead my team into victory. I thank God for making it possible for me and I will continue working hard so that I achieve my goals,” said Chawinga who was born on May 22, 1996.
She recently won the Golden Boot Award after scoring 17 goals, seven more than reigning African Woman Player of the Year, Asisat Oshoala of Nigeria.
Following her exploits in China, Tabitha is expected to give Oshoala a good run for her money in Africa’s top award this year.
Tabitha’s sister, Temwa, is also scoring goals for fun at her Swedish side Kvarnvederns IK in her debut season.
DD Sunshine Coach, Andrew Chikhosi, said he is not surprised with Tabitha’s form in China.
“This is what I expected from her because I know she is a quality footballer. I believe this is just the beginning. We should expect more,” Chikhosi said.
While in Sweden, Tabitha won three Golden Boot awards in both the top flight league and second-tier.
The 21-year-old striker, who was born in Rumphi District, also won Sweden’s 2017 Best Forward of the Year accolade, beating Fifa Best Player of the Year Lieke Martens and Montpellier’s Stina Blackstenius.
Tabitha then went on to become the first Malawian player to be nominated for the African Woman Footballer of the Year award.
Tabitha Chawinga is a Malawian footballer forward who plays for Jiangsu Suning in the Chinese Women’s Super League.
Born in Malawi, Chawinga is the middle child of five children born to her parents. She began playing football at age five and played with boys until age 13 when she began playing for girls’ club, DD Sunshine.
Jiangsu Suning, 2018–present
After successful spells in Sweden, Chawinga gained the interest from various top clubs abroad and eventually signed for Chinese side Jiangsu Sunning, reportedly for a record-breaking transfer fee in Swedish women’s football. On 6 May 2018, she scored the winning goal in her full-length debut away to Shanghai.
The 21-year-old netted a hat-trick in Jiangsu’s 9-0 victory at already-relegated Hebei Ticai, while the Nigeria star Oshoala netted her 10th in the league as Dalian earned a 1-0 win over Changchun Dazhong.
Last season, it was the former Arsenal forward who scooped the top scorer prize with 13 league goals in her debut outing in China and subsequently pipped the Malawian to the African Women’s Best Player of the Year award.
At the end of the 2018 season, Chawinga ended with 17 goals to scoop the league top scorer, with seven more than joint second-placed Oshoala, who helped Dalian retain their league crown.