Shrug off Nomads, retain league title
Faultless home performance, steely defence and sharp attack saw Nyasa Big Bullets shrug off rivals Be Forward Wanderers by a point to retain the TNM Super League championship, in the
process helping Coach Kallisto Pasuwa ink his piece of history.
Bullets fans rendered Blantyre impassable for the better part of the evening yesterday as they moved at a snail’s pace while chanting and dancing celebrating the team’s title retention after beating TN Stars 2-0 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
In fact, the party started right after the final whistle when the red carpet was rolled out for the men in red at a ceremony which TNM Managing Director Michiel Buitelaar and Sports Minister Francis Phiso graced.
Bullets saw off Stars through Peter Banda and Hassan Kajoke’s first-half bullets to reclaim the title with 70 points from 30 games, a point ahead of Wanderers.
The Nomads, who led for the better part of the campaign only to falter along the way, settled for the second place with 69 points after beating Mlatho Mponela 3-0 courtesy of striker Vincent Nyangulu’s brace and defender Peter Cholopi’s effort.
Bullets only dropped points at home in a 2-2 draw with Savenda Chitipa United in the first round while winning the rest of the home games. Bullets have won the title 14 times followed by Silver Strikers (eight) and six for Wanderers.
In retaining the championship, the Zimbabwean Pasuwa made it six consecutive league titles in two countries, including four on the trot with Harare giants Dynamos before he joined Bullets late last season.
In a post-match interview, Pasuwa summed up the season saying: “The year 2019 has been very difficult. It was a very close contest. Well done to Wanderers who kept us on our toes.”
Bullets scored the highest number of goals in the league at 62 (with Kajoke contributing 17) and conceded the least at 13.
Kajoke added a second goal yesterday beating Stars goalkeeper Clifford Jekapu with a low seemingly harmless effort after meeting Chimwemwe Idana’s chip in the 41st minute to seal the points. Banda had opened the scoring with a near-post cool finish after 10 minutes.
In the second half, Bullets seemed determined to add more goals but Kajoke dragged his effort over the bar after Banda’s delivery from the left wing before Jekapu denied striker Chiukepo Msowoya and the man who had replaced him Nelson Kangunje.
In a post-match interview, Stars Team Manager, Mike Banda, said they were happy to have finished on eighth place on the log table with 41 point.
“It was a season of contrasting halves. We did well in the first round and we are here because of our first round performance but we struggled in the second round. We made some mistakes. What is important is to make new mistakes and not repeat the same mistakes,”he said.
At Civo Stadium, Wanderers coach, Bob Mpinganjira, could only rue the missed opportunities that saw them finishing the season empty handed.