Once beaten, twice shy; probably this is the script Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers will be reading when they clash in the Airtel Top 8 Cup final at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe this afternoon.
This encounter puts the Nomads cup specialty under test as Silver are not pushovers at this stage, especially in Lilongwe.
When the battle for the K15 million ultimate championship prize begins this afternoon, both teams must find better tactics on how to overcome each other.
But at the end of the day, one will go home crest-fallen with the other side celebrating. This is the nature of football, especially cup games.
With both teams in unstoppable form, this could be the most exciting final ever. This will be a fourth meeting between the two sides in a cup final in five years with the Nomads winning thrice against Silver.
The two teams met in the defunct Standard Bank Cup final in 2012 and 2013, with the Nomads winning 1-0 on both occasions.
Last season, Wanderers defeated Silver in the Carlsberg Cup final. Silver last beat Wanderers in a cup final in 1997.
For Silver, it would be a chance to end the Nomads’ cup record while revenging last year’s loss. On the other hand, Wanderers hope to preserve their history in inaugural cups.
Interestingly, the Nomads’ duo Lucky Malata and Peter Wadabwa will face their former employers, just like Timothy Chitedze who played for Wanderers before swapping light blue for sky blue.
Silver stormed to the final after kicking out Kamuzu Barracks 5-3 on post-match penalties whereas Wanderers beat another military side Moyale Barracks 3-2 at Bingu National Stadium.
The Nomads veteran Coach, Yasin Osman, refused to get carried away with their record in cup finals, saying it would be a tough fixture.
“Silver are a good side and we should tread carefully. But they should be prepared for a kick in the teeth because we want to win the cup,” Osman said.
Silver Head Coach, Lovemore Fazili, during the week warned the Nomads that his side was aiming at spoiling their record.
“They should not take us for granted. They beat us last year but this is another cup. Pressure is on them because they want to protect their cup history but we are on a serious mission,” said Fazili, whose club has gone three consecutive seasons without a trophy.
At the back, Silver will rely on Nigerian Yunus Sheriff who has settled well to form a rock-solid defence alongside Chisomo Mpachika, providing the much needed shield to goalkeeper Brighton Munthali.
As usual, Thuso Paipi, Blessings Tembo and Green Harawa will be dangerous to the Nomads defenders.
For Wanderers, midfielders Yamikani Chester, Joseph Kamwendo and Felix Zulu have been their best players in attack.
Without injured Amos Bello and Ishmael Thindwa upfront, Wanderers might rely on Jabulani Linje and hat-trick hero Khumbo Ng’ambi in attack.
Road to final
Wanderers started their journey with a 3-1 aggregate victory over Azam Tigers in the quarter-final.
In the first leg, the Nomads beat Tigers 2-0 with goals from Kamwendo and Jafali Chande at Balaka Stadium before a 1-1 draw at Kalulu Stadium.
The Nomads stormed into the final after a comeback 3-2 victory over Moyale Barracks at Bingu National Stadium.
The Central Bankers dumped Nyasa Big Bullets out of the competition following a 1-0 aggregate win. Victor Limbani scored the lone goal in the first leg whereas the second leg ended goal-less at Mulanje Park Stadium.
In the semi-final, Silver eliminated Kamuzu Barracks 5-3 on post-match penalties at Civo Stadium.
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