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Big Bullets, Amazulu FC in Caf showdown

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Kinnah Phiri

Nyasa Big Bullets will face South African side Amazulu FC in the preliminary round of Caf Champions League slated to kick off in September.

The draw for the competition took place Friday in Cairo, Egypt. Amazulu, who finished second in DSTV Premiership last season, have Flames Captain Limbikani Mzava.

Bullets will start away in Durban between September 10 and 12 before hosting Amazulu between September 17 and 19 at a venue yet to be announced after Bingu National Stadium was declared unfit.

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Should Bullets progress to the next round, they will face Democratic Republic of Congo giantsTP Mazembe.

Champions League winners Al Ahly of Egypt, Zamalek, four-time African Champions Esperance, Étoile du Sahel, Raja Casablanca, Mamelodi Sundowns, Horoya Athletic Club of Guinea, TP Mazembe and Wydad Casablanca are some of the seeded teams.

Speaking prior to the draw, Bullets Chief Executive Officer Suzgo Nyirenda said they were ready to face any team in the tournament.

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“When we registered in the tournament, we knew we are up for the big challenge. It is good we will not play some of these teams at this early stage but we are ready for any team,” he said.

Former Malawi National Team Coach Kinnah Phiri, who inspired Bullets to the group stages of the Caf Champions League, asked the nation to support Bullets during Caf games.

“I am hopeful this team can pull surprises in this tournament not because they played well at the Cecafa tournament but because it is the best run club in the country at the moment. They have a combination of old guards and new blood who are playing as a team,” he said.

Meanwhile, Bullets have disclosed that they will plead with the Confederation of Africa Football (Caf) to consider them use Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe Township, Blantyre for their preliminary matches in Caf Champions League.

This comes after Caf turned down Football Association of Malawi’s appeal to reassess Bingu National Stadium after the facility was declared unfit to host international matches.

Bullets had opted for BNS after Caf also banned Kamuzu Stadium.

Nyirenda said it would be difficult to play their Caf assignments in other countries as it was costly.

“It is unfortunate that procrastination has cost the country an opportunity to watch the national team in the World Cup as well as for the fans to watch Bullets in the Caf Champions League. We believe the ban is only for the Fifa World Cup and it is our hope that Caf will accept our plea to play in Malawi,” he said.

“We are pleading with Caf because the decisions that have been taken are the ones coming from Fifa for the World Cup qualifiers. We know Fifa has set standards for the World Cup and we understand that the authorities didn’t do a good job particularly when the Kamuzu Stadium was rejected.”

Nyirenda added that Bullets will look for a long-term plan should they reach the group stages of the competition to play their home matches away from Malawi.

The People’s Team, who are currently in Tanzania for Cecafa Kagame Cup, last participated in the competition in 2019 but exited in the preliminary round after losing 3-2 to FC Platinum FC on aggregate.

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