They used to be great rivals during their playing days in Zimbabwe and continue to be in their coaching careers.
This afternoon, their rivalry will be witnessed by Malawian soccer lovers at Kamuzu Stadium as Nyasa Big Bullets line up against FC Platinum in the preliminary round of the Caf Champions League.
The two legends of Zimbabwean football, Kallisto Pasuwa and Norman Mapeza, will be the centre of attention as Bullets and Platinum lock horns.
Pasuwa and Mapeza have openly declared their admiration of each other’s acumen in the game and that will make today’s encounter too close to call.
Bullets are hoping to make a strong start in the continental showpiece after the disappointment of losing to Kenya’s Gor Mahia in last year’s event.
Platinum arrived in the country on Thursday evening and endured a 300-kilometre road trip after their flight from Lilongwe to Blantyre yesterday was cancelled.
Pasuwa said he remains confident that his side would utilise home-ground advantage to impress.
“There are no two ways about it. Platinum are a good side. I have been following them in recent games. They qualified for the mini league of this competition, which means they have an edge over us. They have the advantage of experience playing in this competition.
“We are champions of Malawi and they are champions of Zimbabwe. On our part, we have been encouraging our players to die for their country. We are going into the match to get results because we know that it will not be easy for us in Zimbabwe,” Pasuwa said.
The People’s Team goes into the game without the services of Captain John Lanjesi and attacker MacFarlane Mgwira.
The two are recovering from injuries and are on light training.
Without the two key players, Pasuwa will bank on the experience of veterans Chiukepo Msowoya and Chimango Kayira.
Up-and-coming defender Nixon Nyasulu, who was promoted from Bullets Reserve following Lanjesi’s injury, has not disappointed in Bullets’ past three matches.
Platinum Coach Norman Mapeza said they have a mission to accomplish despite the travel disturbances.
“Our travel arrangements could certainly have been better. But, all in all, we need to forget what happened and forge ahead. We are in Blantyre to face Bullets and we must be ready in every aspect. It will be a huge task but we need a win,” Mapeza said.
As Bullets take on Platinum, Masters Security will line up against Uganda’s Proline FC in Kampala, Uganda, in the Caf Confederation Cup.
Masters Coach, Abbas Makawa, expressed hope that his side can overcome financial problems to leave a mark in the second-tier competition.
Makawa said his charges are in good shape ahead of the crunching tie.
“We are well prepared here and all is set. The good thing with my players is that when I speak, they listen. I reminded them that they are representing Malawi and they must fight. We have forgotten our financial problems and are ready to make the nation proud,” Makawa said.
Return matches in both competitions will be played two weeks later with Bullets travelling to Bulawayo while Masters will be at home in Lilongwe.