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Heroes’ welcome!

Peter Mponda delighted despite defeat

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Bullets supporters

Blaring car horns as well as red and white flags were the most outstanding feature in Blantyre as Nyasa Big Bullets returned home Sunday after taking part in the Cecafa Kagame Cup in Tanzania.

Some supporters flocked to Chileka International Airport to welcome the team. Upon arrival, the supporters escorted the team bus.

During the tournament, Bullets, who were invited as guest team, finished second after a 1-0 loss to eventual winners Express FC of Uganda, in a match played at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Tanzania.

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Despite the loss, Bullets Assistant Coach Peter Mponda said he was pleased with the performance of the team throughout the tournament as the players showed great attitude.

“I am very impressed with the way the boys played and we have shown that we are a big team so that we should be counted in Africa. Our focus changes to Caf Champions League and the Super League,” Mponda said in a post-match reaction on Saturday.

Bullets, who returned home Sunday, will not have time to rest as they are expected to face Silver Strikers in the FDH Bank Cup quarterfinal on Wednesday at Silver Stadium.

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For finishing second, Bullets pocketed $20,000 (about K16 million) whereas Express got $25,000.

Bullets defender Yamikani Fodya was named as the competition’s best player whereas his teammate Chimwemwe Idana won the fair play award.

Goalkeeper of the tournament was Joel Mutakubwa of Express.

Sports analyst George Kaudza-Masina said Bullets performed beyond expectations.

“It was good preparations for them ahead of Caf Champions League but they should not relax,” he said.

Bullets registered two victories—4-2 over Azam on post-match penalties and 2-0 over Atlabara of South Sudan—but played to 1-1 draws against Yanga and Express in the group stages.

Meanwhile, Bullets are keeping fingers crossed on whether Caf will allow them to host Amazulu at Bingu National Stadium in the preliminary round of Caf Champions League between September 17 and 19.

Bullets Chief Executive Officer Suzgo Nyirenda said they were hoping that they would play the return leg at home.

“We chose BNS as home-ground and we have written a letter to Caf asking for clarification on the condition of BNS. We also included Mpira Stadium as an alternative venue,” he said.

Caf banned BNS from hosting international matches, saying the condition of the pitch was bad.

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