Karonga United believe that they will turn the tables when hosting Civil Service United in the reverse fixture of the Airtel Top 8 Cup quarterfinal at Karonga Stadium this afternoon.
The hosts have a score to settle, having lost the first leg 2-0 at Silver Stadium two weeks ago courtesy of goals from Ranken Mwale and Innocent Tanganyika.
However, the two teams shared fortunes in the league in the just-ended season.
Civil defeated Karonga 2-1 at Karonga Stadium before Karonga registered a 1-0 victory over them at Civo Stadium.
This afternoon’s match offers both teams an opportunity to stake their claim in this competition.
For Karonga, they will be hoping to reach their second consecutive Airtel Top 8 Cup semifinal whereas Civil will be hoping to qualify for their first semifinal appearance in this competition.
Karonga finished as runner-up after losing 1-0 to defending champions Silver Strikers at Bingu Stadium in 2019.
Ahead of the tie, Karonga Team Manager Wilberforce Longwe believe they have the capacity to get a positive result.
“Anything can happen in football. We have seen teams overturning the tables after losing in the first leg. We have forgotten what happened in Lilongwe and this is a different match,” he said.
In this tie, Yona Milanzi will likely be between the sticks while captain Hygiene Mwandepeka, Adeleke Kolawole, Gabriel Daudi and Nangi Songa will be at the back.
Victor Lungu will be at the hub, alongside Balikinho Mwakanyongo and William Mwalwimba. Clement Nyondo and Mphatso Kamanga will likely lead the attack.
Civil Coach Franco Ndawa said his troops were treading carefully ahead of the tie.
“We will continue from where we left in the first leg. The players know the importance of the match,” Ndawa said.
Civil have assembled a strong squad with the likes of goalkeeper Tione Tembo, Lawrence Chaziya, Bashir Maunde and Damiano Kunje.
In midfield, Civil have Moses Banda, Henry Msowoya and Tanganyika whereas, in attack, they have plenty of options including Mwale, Binwel Katinji and veteran striker Muhammad Sulumba.
The overall winner between Civil and Karonga will meet either Silver or TN Stars, who meet tomorrow in the second leg at Chitowe Stadium.
Silver have an advantage after winning the first leg 1-0 courtesy of Patrick Macheso at the same venue.
Mighty Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets will face each other in the semifinal of the tournament.
Wanderers progressed to the semifinal after beating Moyale Barracks 5-4 on post-match penalties after 1-1 on aggregate whereas Bullets defeated Mafco 5-2 on aggregate.
The semifinals will be played between December 11 and 12 before the final slated for December 20 at a venue yet to be announced.