Bullets pocket Airtel Money, get K17 million airtime
By Mphatso Malidadi
Long at last, Nyasa Big Bullets clinched Airtel Top 8 Cup after coming from behind to defeat two-time holders Silver Strikers 5-3 on post-match penalties in the final at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre yesterday.
The game ended one-all in regulation time but Silver’s substitute Levison Maganizo missed his spot kick to gift Bullets K17 million jackpot for winning the Airtel Cup.
Bullets had to do it the hard way as the competition’s top goal-scorer Babatunde Adepoju, with eight goals from three games, missed the game due to suspension while promising attacker Misheck Selemani was also absent due to illness.
Despite the absence of the two, Bullets fought hard to stop Silver from winning the cup for the third time having won it in 2017 and 2019.
Bullets supporters went into deafening silence when Stain Davie put Silver in the lead in the eighth minute.
Davie connected a Blessing Tembo’s cross with a header to beat Ernest Kakhobwe on the near post.
It was a reward for Silver who had started strongly bossing possession putting Bullets on the back-foot.
But the People’s Team reorganised themselves to deservedly get an equaliser through Lanjesi Nkhoma in the 16th minute.
Both teams made changes in the second half and worked hard to win the game but they could not get another goal in regulation time.
Bullets substitute Precious Phiri hit the woodwork in added time much to the relief of Silver fans.
During the shootout, Kakhobwe made huge difference when he saved Maganizo’s penalty to hand his side the advantage.
The People’s Team scored through substitute Yamikani Fodya, Zicco Mkanda, Chimwemwe Idana, Gomezgani Chirwa and Nickson Nyasulu whereas Frank Banda, Davie and substitute Innocent Shema converted Silver their spot kicks.
Silver could not take their last spot kick as it could not make any difference to the title destination.
Bullets Coach Kalitso Pasuwa said it was one of the toughest games but he praised his charges.
“To be honest, Silver always give us problems. But congratulations to the boys for a job well done,” said Pasuwa, whose side defeated Mafco (5-2 on aggregate) in quarterfinals and
Mighty Wanderers 4-1 in semifinals.
Silver Assistant Coach Macdonald Yobe, speaking on behalf ofHead Coach Dan Kabwe, said it was a balanced match.
“The result could have gone either way,” said Yobe, whose team knocked out TN Stars (5-1 aggregate) in quarterfinals and Civil Service United 2-0 in the semifinals.
Bullets have finished the season with Airtel Top 8 Cup and the TNM Super League championship whereas Silver won the FDH Bank and were runners-up in the league.
Bullets – Ernest Kakhobwe, Chimwemwe Idana, Nickson Mwase, Sankhani Mkandawire, Hassan Kajoke, Alick Lungu, Chiukepo Msowoya, Henry Kabichi, Ernest Petro, Gomezgani Chirwa and Lanjesi Nkhoma. Subs-Rabson Chiyenda, Eric Kaonga, Yamikani Fodya, Bright Munthali, Precious Phiri, Richard Chimbamba, Zicco Mkanda, Paul Kansungwi, Ben Manyozo, Blessings Mpokera and Anthony Mfune
Silver– Charles Thom, Mike Robert, Tawonga Chimodzi, Maxwell Paipi, Stain Davie, Patrick Macheso, Mark Fodya, Nickson Mwase, Frank Banda, Zebron Kalimba and Blessings Tembo,
Subs-Brighton Munthali, Herbert Wayekha, Young Chimodzi Jnr, Levison Maganizo, Horace Mchoma, Maxwell Gasten Phodo, Prince Phiri, Innocent Shema, Chinsinsi Maonga.