While the TNM Super League championship race remains hazy, a leading batch of four teams— Silver Strikers at the summit, second-placed Nyasa Big Bullets with Mafco and Blue Eagles lying third and fourth respectively—are bursting clear from the rest of the chasing pack.
Silver lead the 16-member table with 42 points from 22 games with the possibility of taking their tally to 66 points, assuming they win all their remaining eight games.
Defending champions Bullets’ have 41 points with a maximum points tally of 62 whereas Mafco can shoot to 65 points should they claim victory with eight games to go.
The Salima-based soldiers are tied on 41 points with Bullets.
Eagles have nine games remaining, translating to 27 points that could stretch their current tally of 21 games played and 39 points to 66 points.
From these statistics, it is easy to conclude that the eight-time winners, Silver, have the brightest prospects of winning the championship followed by Eagles, Mafco then Bullets in that order.
Having met on Wednesday in a Fisd Challenge Cup round of 16 match with Silver winning 1-0, Bullets have a chance to get their revenge in today’s league game at Silver Stadium.
The other remaining games for Silver are away to Kamuzu Barracks, Premier Bet Wizards, Be Forward Wanderers, Moyale Barracks while playing host to Red Lions, Karonga United and Mafco.
Having lost 1-2 away to Bullets, Silver’s indifferent home form suggests that they are not guaranteed of beating Mafco, who hammered them 3-0 in the first round, let alone Lions.
Silver can collect maximum points against bad travelers Karonga.
The Central Bankers have an advantage of more away games as compared to their remaining home fixtures.
More importantly, the midweek win over Bullets on Wednesday and today’s result could have a psychological effect on both teams’ title ambitions.
Football analyst, Benjamin Kumwenda, agrees:
“I see either Silver or Mafco as strong contenders alongside Bullets. But after Wednesday’s loss and if they lose again to Silver, I do not see Bullets retaining the championship,” the National Coaches’ Association General Secretary observed.
Bullets, who are winless in three consecutive cup and league games, host Karonga, Mafco, Eagles and Dwangwa while hitting the road for a tangle with Civo, Epac and Silver.
Bullets, though having lost their 100 percent home record, have an advantage of the most home games in the league.
The same cannot be said about Mafco, who host Wizards, Max Bullets and Silver, yet must travel to face Bullets, Lions, Eagles, Civo and Dwangwa.
Mafco, who have built on last season’s second-place finish, have tricky fixtures with their only advantage being team work and the form of striker-in-chief, Richard Mbulu. However, Mbulu rarely scores against giants.
On paper, Eagles have 50-50 chances of winning their remaining fixtures although registering one win, three draws and a loss in the second round is certainly not a form you would expect from a serious championship contender.
Eagles’ Coach, Derklerk Msakakuona, is pegging his team’s title chances at 50 percent.
“We cannot afford to underrate any team. The performance of the teams that are in the championship race seems to depend on whether you are playing two back-to-back games or not on a particular weekend,” Msakakuona said.
The Area 30 cops host Tigers, Kamuzu Barracks, Mafco and Wanderers while playing away to Karonga, Bullets, Civo and Moyale.
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