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Daggers drawn

Big Bullets hope for positive start against AmaZulu

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Peter Mponda

Nyasa Big Bullets’ 2021- 22 Caf Champions League campaign gets underway against South African Premier Soccer League side AmaZulu at Moses Mabidha Stadium in Durban, South Africa, this evening.

The two teams are complete strangers to each other as they are meeting for the first time ever.

However, the People’s Team is no stranger to facing South African opposition as it booted Orlando Pirates out of the group stages of the 2003-04 edition of the elite continental club showpiece.

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Bullets Captain Chimwemwe Idana said they were eager to leave a mark in South Africa by putting up a strong showing.

“This is the biggest club tournament in Africa. We need to show that we are capable of beating top clubs outside Malawi. We will certainly fight for a win though we are playing away,” Idana said.

Idana said they were aware that AmaZulu are a strong side capable of winning the match, hence they are not expecting a walk in the park.

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Bullets Assistant Coach Peter Mponda said they have worked on all departments to ensure that they win the match.

“We are prepared for the match. The task is now in the hands of the boys to do the job. I don’t think it would be difficult for us to deliver. We have been in this competition before and the boys know what we are here for. I am sure they will do their best,” Mponda said.

AmaZulu Coach Benni McCarthy has since called on his team to enjoy the privilege of playing continental football as they seek to emulate the recent exploits of Bafana Bafana.

“We just want the game to come now because we prepared well enough for what we are going to be up against. So, we are ready to go and hopefully we can also do South Africa proud like Bafana did. It does make it difficult when you go into the unexpected; you don’t know what you will be up against.

“You don’t know how tricky opposition they are, you don’t know how physical they are, how good, fast and strong they are so it is the unknown and we just have to rely on a few game clips that we got from television footage in Malawi,” McCarthy told kickoff.com.

He said they needed to ensure that Bullets’ strengths do not end up punishing them.

“We looked a lot at what they [Bullets] are strong at doing and we have based our team on that and tried to work on that so that they don’t catch us off guard when it comes to what they are good at.

“They are not the quickest and they don’t deal a lot with tricky players. Hopefully, we can pull it off on Friday and give ourselves a fighting chance when we do go to Malawi. Home advantage counts massively if you look at Kaizer Chiefs’ success last season [in the Champions League]. They were ruthless at home and we want to draw inspiration from that,” McCarthy said.

He said if AmaZulu could win home matches, they stood a chance of giving themselves a fighting chance.

Meanwhile, Bullets striker Babatunde Adepoju has joined the squad, having been left behind on Wednesday due to visa issues.

The Nigerian is likely to lead Bullets’ striking force with Chiukepo Msowoya following the absence of Hassan Kajoke, who is nursing an injury.

Should Bullets emerge victorious from their two-legged tie against AmaZulu, they will meet Congolese giants TP Mazembe in the second qualifying round for a spot in the group stage of the competition.

AmaZulu are in the competition for the first time after finishing second in the South Africa’s 2020/21 DStv Premiership.

Bullets, who last participated in the competition in 2018, go into the match after reaching the Cecafa Cup final which they lost 1-0 to Uganda’s Express.

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