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Airtel Top 8 Cup kicks off with repeat of 2017 final

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By Williams Gondwa:

The 2019 Airtel Top 8 Cup kicks off with a mouthwatering tie between Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers at Kamuzu Stadium this afternoon.

The two teams met in the 2017 final of the competition which Silver won 10-9 on post-match penalties.

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This year’s tournament is without 2018 winners Blue Eagles and Super League champions Nyasa Big Bullets.

Eagles are not participating after failing to finish in the top eight of the elite league last season while Bullets were banned after causing violence during last year’s final match which they lost 1-0 to the policemen at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.

The People’s Team were given the chance to appeal but they decided not to do so.

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Silver were booted out of last year’s competition after a 1-0 loss to Blue Eagles with Wanderers failing to reach the final when they lost to Bullets 2-1.

Wanderers Team Manager, Steve Madeira, said they hope to do well this year after failing to win the cup for the past two years.

“This is our time to win the cup. We have assembled a good squad that can fulfil our dreams. We have encouraged our boys to work hard knowing that Bullets are not participating this year.

“There is no room for excuses. We just need to play our cards well to defeat Silver at home so that when we go to Lilongwe, we should not have tough time,” Madeira said.

Wanderers signed Babatunde Adepoju, Francis Mkonda, Vincent Nyangulu and Peter Kasonga before the season kicked off and Madeira believes the new players would help them to win this afternoon.

But Silver Strikers assistant Coach, Peter Mgangira, believes that beating Wanderers at their backyard will give them the advantage to progress to the semi final.

“It is always tough facing Wanderers in Blantyre but we will work hard to avoid defeat. We also want this cup because we were the first to win it. We are ready for them and I am sure it will be a good game,” Mgangira said.

Striker Khuda Muyaba will carry the Central Bankers’ hopes alongside Newman Mwamsamale, Mphatso Philimoni and Thuso Paipi.

In another match scheduled for this afternoon, new comers TN Stars will face Karonga United at Kasungu Stadium.

In tomorrow’s action, Kamuzu Barracks will play against Masters Security at Civo Stadium while Mzuni and Civil will play on May 5 at Mzuzu Stadium.

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