The colossal Capital City derby involving Silver Strikers and Civil Sporting Club is back with a call from Airtel Malawi announcing this year’s Airtel Top 8 first-leg quarter-final match set for Bingu National Stadium, Lilongwe Saturday afternoon.
The first instalment of this season’s Lilongwe derby will mark the official launch of the cup’s second edition.
Surely, this fixture will divide the city for 90 minutes as bragging rights are at stake whenever the two sides meet.
In recent years, the derby has lost its sparkle as Silver always dominate it.
But Civil want to break the jinx this afternoon and start on a promising note ahead of the second-leg to be played after two weeks.
In the past four seasons in all competitions, Silver have only lost once and won most of the games against Civil.
Last season, Silver enjoyed a double over their rivals, beating them by 2-1 margins at home and away in the TNM Super League.
Probably, Civil would savour their underdog status heading into the derby and hope to hit Silver where it hurts most by knocking the holders out of the competition.
Both sides have abundant talent.
Perhaps, pressure will be on the Central Bankers who are the defending champions, having won the cup after beating Wanderers 10-9 on post-match penalties in the inaugural final last year.
Both teams head into the match with swagger, having won two consecutive league games.
Civil assistant Coach, Oscar Kaunda, on Thursday admitted that it was painful to play second fiddle to their rivals in recent years.
“It was painful losing to Silver twice last season and now we have to make sure we beat them. This is our chance to give our fans something special and we know we can do it,” said Kaunda who featured in the derby during his playing days.
Silver Coach, Young Chimodzi Senior, was cautious ahead of the derby, saying his charges would not be complacent.
“We have to be cautious because Civil will also be looking for a win. The players know that the match is very important and they have promised to do their best,” said Chimodzi who also coached Civil.
Civil’s strength is team-work and their ability to build attacks from the back.
They also have a stubborn defence led by Lawrence Chazia, Willard Dickson, Andrew Banda and Gomegzani Chirwa with Patrick Thupi and Jide Mbandambanda pulling the strings in midfield.
In attack, Civil have snipers Raphael Phiri and Fletcher Bandawe.
In this encounter, Civil should keep a close eye on Mphatso Phillimon and Jack Chiona who are enjoying a rich vein of form, having scored three goals each in two consecutive league games.
Yinusa Sherrif, Chisomo Mpachika, Mike Robert and Trevor Kalema have been rock-solid at the back for Silver, providing cover for goalkeeper Brighton Munthali.
In the wings, Silver will likely keep faith in Newman Mwamsamale and Damiano Kunje with Young Chimodzi Junior and Timothy Chitedze at the hub of the midfield.
Tomorrow, Nyasa Big Bullets host Moyale Barracks at Kalulu Stadium in another first-leg quarter-final match.
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