Malawi’s ambassadors in the Caf Champions League Nyasa Big Bullets could fancy their chances of progressing to the next round as their opponents, AmaZulu of South Africa, continue to struggle.
Bullets have a big advantage ahead of the return match scheduled for Bingu National Stadium (BNS) in Lilongwe on Saturday after winning the first leg 1-0 courtesy of Chiukepo Msowoya’s first half strike.
The result of the Moses Mabhida Stadium encounter in Durban last week shook AmaZulu to the core as they failed to use home-ground advantage.
After the match, AmaZulu Coach Benni McCarthy slammed his players’ finishing and performance, and bemoaned his club’s failure to sign a striker.
McCarthy’s concerns could be genuine as he has gone without a win and a goal in three straight matches.
Despite finishing last season as runners-up, Usuthu started the season with a 1-0 loss to Mamelodi Sundowns before earning a point in a barren draw with Swallows FC at home.
Their fortunes continued to worsen on Tuesday night when they played out to a goalless draw with SuperSport United at Kings Park Stadium in Durban.
The stalemate left McCarthy frustrated as his player, Tercious challenge on SuperSport’s Jamie Webber. Malepe was sent off after a
He questioned the quality of South African players and slammed match officials.
“I thought a clean challenge, a clean tackle from Tercious winning the ball and not even touching the opposition. But, yeah, that’s the mentality our South African players have these days, and they wonder why they underachieve and why they are mediocre because that’s the behaviour that you want.
“You want to get opposition players sent off because of diving and rolling over like a leg is broken when they didn’t even touch you,” McCarthy said.
Bullets also have the advantage of not playing after Friday’s match and their players have had enough rest unlike AmaZulu.
However, former Bullets coach Eddington Ng’onamo cautioned against complacency, saying AmaZulu will come out fighting.
“It is a fact that AmaZulu are a frustrated team. They are not getting results in the South African league and will be looking for a change in fortunes against Bullets. My advice to Bullets is that they should not play for a draw.
“They are playing at home and winning with a big margin should be their target. They should forget the result of the first match. they should prove that the win in Durban was not by fluke,” Ng’onamo said.
Meanwhile, Bullets Chief Administrator Albert Chigoga has said the South African side will arrive this afternoon and will get a feel of BNS Friday.
“We are set to welcome them in Lilongwe. Our boys have been training in Blantyre since their return from South Africa on Saturday. They are now in Lilongwe finalising preparations,” Chigoga said.
Bullets are the only Malawian side to have reached the group stages of the elite continental club competition in the 2003-04 season and are hoping to repeat the feat.
They are drawing inspiration from their sterling performance at this year’s Cecafa Kagame Cup last month in Tanzania where they lost 1-0 to Express of Uganda in the final.