What lessons can we learn from Temwa Chawinga, the pride of Malawi?

By Rick Dzida

Temwa has made history as she is the first non-European to be the world’s leading 2023 female football scorer.

What is even more amazing is that Temwa with her incredible total of 63 goals has scored more goals in 2023 than any other male player including Cristiano Ronaldo.

What lessons can we learn from this talented football icon, Temwa Chawinga?

Being born in Malawi is not a hindrance to success

Despite being born in a poor country, Malawi, specifically in Rumphi district in the northern region, Temwa Chawinga defied all the odds to become an international professional football player.

It is therefore of paramount importance to ensure that we take control of our circumstances without allowing them to control us.

Regardless of any circumstances, everyone is always presented with unique opportunities to attain one’s full potential.

Stand out on the shoulders of the giants

If you want to be successful, know which people you associate with. There is a high chance of success if you decide to emulate your role models. This is scientifically proven.

Temwa might have been motivated to venture into professional football by her elder sister, Tabitha Chawinga, who began playing football at the age of five with boys until thirteen when she began playing for girls’ club, DD Sunshine in the capital city, Lilongwe.

Don’t just follow your passion but also know your strength

Many people are encouraged to do the work they like most for them to be successful. However, a passion without the required skills and talents cannot lead you to success.

It is therefore important to examine your weaknesses and strengths, so that you can take advantage of your strengths while minimising your weaknesses.

Watching Temwa playing in the pitch, a combination of her courage and determination makes her hunger for a goal.

For instance, in one interview from China, Temwa said her aim was to take every opportunity that came her way to help her team win. “I cannot mention how many goals I intend to score but my aim is to utilise every opportunity that comes during our matches and score in every match. I want to help the team get maximum points and successfully defend the league title”, she disclosed.

In fact, Temwa does not indeed waste opportunities to score any goal. Whenever there are no opportunities for her to score, she tactfully creates them.

Discover your talents

The fact that some people excelled in life after pursuing formal education to the letter does not imply that for everyone to succeed in life, they have to be educated too.

Everyone is unique and therefore needs to walk towards their own destiny.

Temwa is now an international football star either because she discovered her talent at an early stage or someone else did it for her.

It widely believed that everyone was born with a particular talent only that most people fail to discover their competency and talents.

Aim high

It is important to know that success requires a success mindset which Temwa possesses.

You can’t achieve anything tangible if you start looking down on yourself.

Temwa would not have become an international celebrity if she confined her football to Malawi. She plucked enough courage to secure her place in the Chinese football team where she got exposed to international football. It is not a sin to aim high. It is not even unconstitutional to be ambitious.

Breaking the record requires that you think outside the box

Most Malawians are highly conservative such that new emerging social practices are shunned with disdain.

Male dominance over females, homophobia and vehement refusal to legalise safe abortion are deeply rooted in the mindset of most Malawians largely due to religious beliefs and cultural values.

It is not surprising that male dominance has not spared the football fraternity too. In fact, football is taken as a sport for men while netball is a game for women.

It therefore required a complete overhaul of mindset for Temwa to venture into competitive women football leagues.

Energise your goals with your negatives

Truth must be told, the first impression that one gets after looking at Tabitha and her sister, Temwa is that they are men. This notion is totally embarrassing and traumatising to a person who was born a woman.

There were unfortunate times when Tabitha was forced to strip down in public in Malawi before a squad of opponents in order to prove that she is a woman.

Such demeaning incidents could have completely extinguished their burning desire of playing women football again.

Instead, the demoralizing incidents invigorated them in two ways. First, they opted to sign contracts with an international football team in China where women football is well-developed. Second, they took their perceived masculine physique as added asset in the women football fraternity.

Success begets success

Success is a journey. So set small manageable goals. Once you accomplish a small undertaking, it gives you confidence to tackle more challenging puzzles.

Temwa started playing football at grassroots level before she clinched contracts with international teams.

Temwa signed a contract with Kvarnsvedens IK from 2017 to 2019 in Sweden.

Further to that, Temwa signed a two-year contract with Wuhan Jianghan University F.C in China from 2020 to 2023. During this period, she scored a total of 51 goals for the club across all competitions.

On 3 January 2024, Temwa signed a two-year contract with the Kansas City Current in the United States of America.

Get self-disciplined

Good and talented players have lost their stamina and opportunities due to lack of self-discipline.

So far Temwa has an impeccable record of self-discipline. She really plays professional football. For instance, she still maintains a clean record of not being penalised with a red card.

Success is a sacrifice.*

Nothing comes on a silver platter. One needs to work hard and be focused if one has to excel.

Temwa opted to abandon her comfort zone, Malawi and later she decided to explore more opportunities in a foreign land, China, amid language barrier.


In conclusion, Temwa has proved to us that being born in Malawi is not a scapegoat reason from attaining our goals in life.

Successful people stand out on the shoulders of giants. So don’t reinvent the wheel. The best starting point is to mimic your role model.

Always aim high, take risks and be positive all time for success is a sacrifice.

Be self-disciplined as you follow your passion. However, take advantage of your strengths and talents while minimising your weaknesses.

Set realistic and attainable goals since success begets success. Take one step at a time.

Most importantly, if you want to break the world record, think outside the box.


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