An early bird catches the worm—this adage should serve as a reminder to all TNM Super League teams as the season gets tougher with each passing week.
Already some teams are reading the script that a bad beginning makes a good ending.
The race for the Super League championship is like a marathon where it does not matter how you start but how you finish it.
With the season heading into its 10th week, it looks like the journey is tough for newly promoted teams, namely Chitipa United, Blantyre United and Masters Security.
Chitipa anchor the log table with just four points from 10 games followed by United and Masters on seven and nine points, respectively, having played 10 and nine games, respectively.
Among the three, no team has shown signs of being mid-table contenders but as the usual relegation candidates.
For Chitipa, their only famous result was when they held Nyasa Big Bullets to a goal-less draw in their debut in the top-flight league match at Mzuzu Stadium whereas United on Sunday shocked defending champions, Kamuzu Barracks, 2-1 at Chilomoni Stadium in Blantyre.
Masters, the side full of rejected stones, have only claimed two victories against Civil Sporting Club and Mafco. The former Central Region champions also held Bullets to a goal-less draw at Dedza Stadium.
Although it is premature to judge the newly promoted teams, what is clear is that they must pull up their socks to prove that they are contenders, not points’ donors.
After a 1-1 draw against Silver Strikers at Civo Stadium on Sunday, Masters Coach, Benjamin Kumwenda, was dejected that his charges conceded late in the game.
But he heaped praises on his side, saying nobody gave them a chance to collect a point against the Central Bankers, who equalised on the dot of full time through Michael Tetteh.
“It is painful to concede a late goal but, for the better part of the game, we were the better side. We were underdogs against Silver but my players showed great character,”said Kumwenda, whose last Super League coaching job ended disastrously when he failed to save defunct Mponela United from relegation in 2013.
United, who returned to the Super League after three years in the lower league, have started the season on a low.
But Technical Director, Lawson Nakoma, is optimistic that his side would survive the chop.
“We will definitely survive in the league. Our target is to collect 40 points this season and I have no doubt that we will achieve that,” Nakoma said.
United has assembled a squad blended with experienced and blossoming players this season.
On the other hand, Chitipa endured a tough outing to Lilongwe last week when they lost 4-2 to Civil before a 3-0 loss to Blue Eagles on Sunday.
Earlier this season, Chitipa Coach, Kondwani Mwalweni, said it was too early to set a target for his side, saying the team was still adapting to Super League life.
However, for the past four seasons, newly promoted teams have struggled to survive in the league beyond their debut season.
However, an exception is that of Mzuni FC, Airborne Rangers and Dwangwa United, who survived relegation after being promoted from the lower league.
But Premier Bet Wizards survived through the back door when they won the controversial play-offs meant to identify the 16th team in 2015.
Last season, Karonga United and disbanded Max Bullets were relegated alongside Civo United, who ended their 30- year stay in the league.
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