By Isaac Salima:
The 2022 edition of the FDH Bank Cup fairytale Sunday concluded on an exciting note with Nyasa Big Bullets main team having the last laugh after beating their reserve side 3-1 at Kamuzu Stadium Sunday.
Goals from Babatunde Adepoju, Anthony Mfune and Chimwemwe Idana were enough to hand The People’s Team the K25 million prize money, the highest in the country.
The young Bullets scored through Happy Mphepo to pocket K8 million as the second best side.
The family affair, which on paper looked like a mere formality encounter, did not disappoint as both teams displayed fluid and passing football throughout.
Adepoju came in the 13th minute to punish the lads with a tap in to put his team ahead. He took his tally to five goals to eventually claim the golden boot award.
Gomezgani Chirwa provided the assist when he outpaced Aaron Chilipa on the right flank before supplying in the box.
Some Bullets Reserves players protested the goal as they claimed that Chirwa collided with goalkeeper Rahaman John and that it was supposed to be a foul.
Minutes later the young Bullets, again protested referee Easter Zimba’s decision when he turned down their penalty appeal claiming Bullets defender Nickson Nyasulu had handled the ball in the danger zone.
After downing giants Mighty Tigers, Red Lions and Blue Eagles on their way to the final, the young Bullets sent a strong message that they were no longer pushovers in the tournament and fans thronged the stadium in large numbers expecting nothing less than a crunch match.
Surely it was, as the stubborn lads continued pressing for an equaliser and got the reward in the 44th minute when Mphepo’s hard and low shot proved too good for Clever Nkungula in goals.
Cautious of what the lads were capable of doing on a good day, the senior team rested Lanjesi Nkhoma and Patrick Mwaungulu for Stanley Billiat and Ernest Petro at the beginning of the second half.
Idana restored Bullets main team’s lead in the 66th minute after an excellent build up that mesmerized their fans that had divided loyalty in the game.
Ten minutes later Mfune for The People’s Team to put the game beyond the juniors’ reach.
It was pacy right-back Chirwa who was an architect of both goals with his incredible and killing supplies.
Watched by Minister of National Unity Timothy Mtambo and his colleague in Sports and Youth Richard Chimwendo Banda, the scoreline was not a true reflection of the game as despite their determination and resilience, the lads lacked experience and endurance to claim anything from the game.
“We knew that it would not be an easy game and we are happy that the players utilised their few chances,” Bullets main team’s assistant coach Peter Mponda said in a post-match interview.
The losing coach Enos Chatama was quick to draw some positives from the game.
“We controlled the first half but we lost rhythm in the last stanza and conceded a goal we could have avoided. However we are pleased with how the team played in the competition,” he said.
Chimwendo Banda hailed sponsors FDH Bank for contributing to the development of football in the country with the introduction of the prestigious cup.
FDH Bank Plc Managing Director Noel Mkulichi and Football Association of Malawi First Vice President Jabbar Alide also watched the game.