Sworn rivals Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers are scheduled to headline this year’s Charity Shield after being drawn against each other during an unveiling ceremony at Ecobank headquarters in Blantyre yesterday.
Bullets and Wanderers clashed about two weeks ago in the Energem International Bonanza in a match the former won 4-3.
The two giants will open the season with a showdown on April 5 at a venue to be announced later. Initially, the competition was scheduled to take place this weekend.
Wanderers General Secretary, Victor Maunde, described the draw as an opportunity to avenge defeat.
“It is time to end Bullets’ dominance. We have a good team that is capable of getting the results. We will build on the three goals we scored last time we met. We will also use the event to make a final assessment of our squad,” Maunde said.
Bullets Chief Administration Officer, Albert Chigoga, said they will tread cautiously.
“At Bullets, the pressure to deliver is there at all times. Our supporters expect victory in every game. We know that our rivals will come hard on us but we will fight to maintain our superiority,” Chigoga said.
Meanwhile, Ecobank has increased this year’s sponsorship to K18 million from K12 million last year.
Ecobank Head of Commercial and Consumer Banking, Victoria Chanza, said the increment follows the success of last season’s event.
“We are grateful to be back for this year’s Charity Shield. Last year’s proceeds went to a very noble and charitable cause and this year is dedicated towards education,” Chanza Football Association of Malawi President, Walter Nyamilandu, said proceeds from this year’s shield will go to Cyclone Idai victims in Mwalija Village, Chikwawa District.
“We used last year’s shield to campaign against violence on albinos. We also used the proceeds to buy a top-of-the-range Ford Ranger twin cab and trailer that we donated to the Association of People with Albinism in Malawi,” Nyamilandu said.
He also justified kicking off the tournament two weeks after the start of the season, saying it was because of logistics.
“Yes, we are two weeks behind schedule but we wanted to do things in the right manner. We had several discussions with stakeholders and it took us a while to agree on one thing. What is most important is that the competition will still be played,” Nyamilandu said.
Defending champions Bullets face Wanderers in the opening game whereas Silver Strikers meet Blue Eagles in the other fixture.
Winners of the two games will battle for the championship with the losers fighting for bronze.
The theme for this year’s shield is ‘Together for Better Education’.