WITH their blazing artillery, TNM Super League defending champions Kamuzu Barracks (KB) invade Be Forward Wanderers’ territory with a mission to gain maximum points as the two sides clash at Balaka Stadium this afternoon.
The soldiers will be lining up against the wounded Nomads who are smarting from a Carlsberg Cup final defeat at the hands of bitter rivals Nyasa Big Bullets at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe last Saturday. KB became the first Malawi Defence Force to win the league title after shrugging off their first round misfortunes to emerge champions with 61 points.
Their determination in the second round saw them losing only two games against Nyasa Big Bullets and Premier Bet Wizards on their way to lifting the title. But meeting Wanderers will not be a stroll in the park as the Lali Lubani Road side is looking for a quick response to the Carlsberg Cup final debacle.
Head-to-head records indicate that there are contrasting statistics between the two sides. Last season, the two teams shared spoils in the league with the Nomads winning the first leg 3-1 whereas the soldiers avenged defeat with a 2-1 margin.
In the first round opener, the Nomads defeated KB 1-0 thanks to Julius Kajembe. The two sides are separated by 14 points with the Nomads at the summit with 35 points from 15 games whereas the soldiers are ninth with 21 points from the same number of games.
Wanderers would like to cement the top slot in the league knowing that any slip up will give a chance to Silver Strikers who will also be in action against Wizards at Silver Stadium this afternoon. On the other hand, the soldiers would like to narrow the gap to make a statement of their title defence aspirations.
Nomads’ Team Manager, Steve Madeira, said the Carlsberg Cup final loss was water under the bridge. “We should forget what happened in the Carlsberg Cup and focus on widening the gap at the top of the log table. We respect KB because they are defending champions but we want maximum points,” Madeira said.
Wanderers will be without defender Lucky Malata due to injury whereas Harry Nyirenda is a major doubt. But with Alfred Manyozo Jnr back from suspension, the Nomads will have a team comprising the likes of Joseph Kamwendo, Jaffalie Chande and Yamikani Chester causing plenty of problems to the soldiers.
KB have no serious injury concerns and boast of all the weaponry in Harvey Nkacha, Kelvin Hanganda, Manase Chiyesa, Gift M’bwana and Davie Banda.
Coach Billy Phambala is optimistic of avenging the first round loss: “We know that they will come hard on us considering that they lost a cup final last week. But we are prepared to face them.”
Second-placed Silver are just a point behind Wanderers after playing 16 games while Wizards are just three points above the drop zone with 19 points. In another match to be played this afternoon, Azam Tigers host Chitipa United at Chilomoni Stadium in Blantyre.