For a decade, Blue Eagles have carved for themselves an unenviable reputation as mere pacesetters who come crashing down at the business phase of every TNM Super League season.
However, that is changing. Eagles are determined to cross the finishing line and claim their first-ever Super League championship.
As you read this, Eagles, with 44 points from 24 games, have joined leaders Nyasa Big Bullets (49 points from 23 matches) and second-placed Be Forward Wanderers (48 points from 23 games) in the championship chasing pack.
Kamuzu Barracks and Silver Strikers are down and out of the marathon.
Eagles coach, Deklerk Msakakuona, believes winning the championship is not mere a wild dream for his charges.
“If we can play our cards well, we can make it. The league has reached a boiling point and it is my hope that we will work extra hard to register good results,” Msakakuona told www.sulom.mw.
To show their intent, Eagles have, in this campaign, soared past all potential championship contenders, sending a strong message that they cannot be ruled out of the title mix.
Eagles beat Wanderers 2-0 at Nankhaka Ground in Lilongwe last Sunday to make it a league double this season over the Nomads, having defeated them 3-1 in the first round at Kamuzu Stadium.
Sunday’s result saw Wanderers climb down to second place on the log table as Bullets went top following a 3-2 win over Mzuni FC.
Eagles also stunned Bullets 2-1 in the first round, drew 1-1 against Silver at a similar stage before winning the second round contest 2-1.
Wanderers Coach Bob Mpinganjira, admittedly, knows that it was costly letting Bullets go top at this stage of the season.
So, having ticked the first box of what it takes to win a league championship, the cops’ need to fill the next box of at least collecting maximum points in all home matches while also grinding out results against minnow.
Of course, Eagles must still visit Blantyre for a date against Bullets in the second round but, so far, the cops have sent a strong message that they cannot be ruled out.
Apart from meeting Bullets, Eagles have to play away against Mlatho Mponela, host Masters FC and Savenda Chitipa United.
Boasting experienced campaigners such as striker Schumacher Kuwali, defender Steve Chagoma, winger Gilbert Chirwa and captain Micium Mhone, Eagles underrate minnows and end up losing matches they should not.
For example, while Eagles have lost the third least number of league games this season (four) behind Wanderers (three) and Bullets (twice), the cops have, apart from Kamuzu Barracks, who beat them 2-0, done so against teams outside the top four such as 3-2 to Civil Sporting Club and to 1-0 Karonga United.
On paper, Eagles, apart from the away game against Bullets, have relatively easier opponents compared to the fixtures for Bullets and Wanderers who both have to square up against bogey team Mighty Tigers.
Also waiting to test Wanderers’ championship resolve are away against Kamuzu Barracks, TN Stars, Masters, Mponela, Dwangwa United (away) and at home against Karonga United and Chitipa United.
On the other hand, Bullets have to play on the road against Silver, Civil Sporting Club while hosting Masters, Tigers, Eagles, Moyale Barracks and TN Stars.
On paper, Eagles and Wanderers have seemingly easier opponents but the challenge for them is that Bullets are not only leading; they are also the defending champions. What Eagles have done is end talk that this is a two-horse race.
Peter Kanjere is a versatile Journalist currently working for Times Group as Assistant Editor for The Daily Times.
With vast experience in the industry, he is also an accomplished Sports Analyst, whose exploits in sports reporting and analysis span beyond the length and breadth of the African continent.