By Mphatso Malidadi:
The Nyasa Big 4 bonanza got underway with pomp at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre Friday with Be Forward Wanderers winger Mike Kaziputa helping his side to start with a 1-0 win over visiting Chicken Inn of Zimbabwe.
Both teams were not settled in the first-half but it was the visitors who, at times, bossed play.
Wanderers took advantage of the game to grant new signing Babatunde Adepoju his debut.
The former Masters Security forward at times appeared to be playing in isolation and also holding on to possession for too long in his quest to win the hearts of spectators.
The Nomads also welcomed several players who had been sidelined due to injuries or loss of form such as goal keeper Richard Chipuwa and defender Lucky Malata, whereas promoted youngster Wisdom Mpinganjira came from the bench for his debut.
After a barren first-half, Kaziputa underlined his class when his long cross sailed into the net for a wonderful goal.
Towards the end of the game, Wanderers fought hard to survive Chicken Inn’s relentless attacks with Chipuwa making some breathtaking saves.
Wanderers Team Manager Steve Madeira said the win was not their priority.
“We used the game to prepare for the new season. We are happy that some players from reserve side have had a chance to gain exposure while some senior players such as Lucky Malata and Richard Chipuwa also had a chance to gain match fitness,” Madeira said.
Chicken Inn Coach, Joey Atipas, blamed the loss on lapses in concentration.
“Of course the artificial surface did not help matters as we are used to playing on natural grass,” Atipas said.
The bonanza will continue this afternoon with Wanderers playing Ferroviaro de Nampula whereas Bullets will face Chicken Inn.
On Monday, the last day of the three-day event, Chicken Inn and Ferroviario will meet in an all-visitors affair before paving way for Bullets and Wanderers to close the stage with the first Blantyre derby of the year.
Meanwhile, Bullets’ Senior Business Development Manager, Kelvin Moyo, said he was impressed with the turn up.
“Being a working day, we are pleased with the number of supporters that came to witness the bonanza on its first day. We can only hope for better things to come,” he said.
At the time of going to press, Bullets were playing Ferroviario. In today’s games, Wanderers will take on the Mozambicans while Bullets will be in action against Chicken Inn.
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