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Minnows battle for FDH Cup final slot

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Jimmy Butao

In a biblical story, Goliath the giant was defeated by David in single combat and Rumphi United Coach Jimmy Butao believes his troops can emulate the footsteps of David.

Butao made the remarks as his charges dare Ekwendeni Hammers in the semifinal of the K90 million FDH Bank Cup at Karonga Stadium this afternoon.

This is the first semifinal tie between the two sides at national level.

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On paper, Ekwendeni, who play in the TNM Super League, are favourites but Rumphi, a side on the verge of being promoted to top flight league, can stun any top side at any stage.

For starters, Rumphi knocked out Red Lions 4-1 on post-match penalties in round of 16 after 1-1 stalemate in regulation time before beating Dedza Young Soccer 4-1 in the quarterfinals.

On the part of Ekwendeni, they defeated Mighty Wanderers Reserve 1-0 in the round of 16 before beating Ntopwa 2-0 in the quarterfinal.

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Butao said he has assembled a squad capable of causing upset at any stage.

“Remember, you can cut a big tree with a small axe. For us to do that, we have a special plan for them. I know they have had sleepless nights ahead of the match because they know that we have the weapons to win the battle,” Butao said.

Rumphi have several experienced players who have shown their quality in the cup. Trouble Kajani, who has scored three goals in the competition, is expected to lead the attack alongside Foster Kanyenda.

Mabvuto Gondwe, Wally Gondwe, Mwiza Mgala and Zebron Mwaseke are likely to partner at the back, providing cover to Innocent Nyasulu.

In midfield, Butao has plenty of options including Festus Chikwezga, Edward Mkandawire and Gerald Ngwira.

On the other hand, Ekwendeni Coach Etison Kadenge Mwafulirwa believes his charges will have advantage due to experience.

“Cup games are very tricky and we have to be cautious. We need to go into the match with a right mentality and fight for the win,” he added.

Ekwendeni have experienced stars such as Harry Nyirenda, Michael Tetteh and Wister Phiri. But midfielder Patrick Banda has been ruled out due to injury.

The winner between Ekwendeni and Rumphi will face Silver Strikers or Mighty Wanderers, who face-off in another semifinal next week.

Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said the match will be played behind closed doors.

The champions will pocket K25 million-the highest prize money in domestic football plus a trophy whereas the runners-up will get K8 million.

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