The 2016 TNM Super League enters week three with four derbies spread across all major venues in the country.
Ranking high among them is a Blantyre derby involving defending champions, Nyasa Big Bullets, and bitter rivals, Be Forward Wanderers this eventful afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The People’s Team goes into the crunch encounter on a high after collecting their first maximum points of 2016 in a 2-1 win over Red Lions last Sunday, a week after opening the campaign with a barren draw against Moyale Barracks.
Bullets might welcome back several of their injury–prone players such as last season’s top scorer, Chiukepo Msowoya, overlapping defender, Pilirani Zonda and winger Mac Farlen Ngwira, who are yet to play this season.
It will be the first time that Bullets Coach, Franco Ndawa and striker, Muhammad Sulumba, once Wanderers servants, face their former employer in the league match.
The Nomads will certainly be aiming at an improved performance coming from a disappointing one-all draw with Super League returnees, Dwangwa United last Saturday.
The stalemate was surely an anti-climax as they kicked off the league on a high with a 2-1 win over 2013 Super League champions, Silver Strikers.
The Lali Lubani Road side hopes for the return of enterprising midfielder, Isaac Kaliati, who was dropped after demanding a share from his transfer fee. The matter has since been resolved.
The Nomads were also running up and down in the course of the week to secure a work permit for Japanese forward, Genk Nakamura, so that he makes his league debut.
The last time the two giants met on April 9 at Civo Stadium during the inaugural Chifundo Charity Shield, Bullets won 2-0 margin, courtesy of Msowoya and Sulumba.
Last season, Bullets also had an upper hand over the Nomads in league games, with Wanderers proving better in cup meetings.
Both sides have four points from two games with Bullets scoring two goals and letting in one while Wanderers have netted three and let in two, suggesting that the giants’ defences are shaky and their attacks are better.
Sulumba has a weight of expectations on his shoulders when lining up against his former employers, who lack of aerial power in defence and individualism has over the years proved to be their undoing.
The combination of Sulumba and Msowoya could prove handy to Wanderers’ rearguard comprising Stanley Sanudi, Foster Namwela, Kondwani Lufeyo and Francis Mlimbika.
Upfront, Amos Bello, the first Nigerian to grace domestic football fields, has with his athleticism, penetration and raw power won hearts in the red side of Blantyre.
He and Peter Wadabwa are potential match winners against Bullets, whose strength has always been depth, and more importantly utter defiance in the face of adversity. Bullets play with character and unity.
The derby party will then move to Lilongwe, Mzuzu and Dwangwa tomorrow with Silver Strikers and Civo meeting at Civo Stadium while Mzuni play Moyale Barracks at Mzuzu Stadium.
Elsewhere, Dwangwa’s Chitowe Ground host a Lakeshore derby between Dwangwa United and Mafco.
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