By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
Malawi’s ambassadors in Confederation of African Football club competitions, Nyasa Big Bullets and Masters Security, had no luck yesterday as they crushed out of the Champions League and Confederation Cup, respectively.
This was the second consecutive year Bullets had failed to go past the elite continental competition’s first round.
Bullets needed any scoring draw to progress to the next round of the competition but lost 3-2 to 10-man Platinum FC in the return leg of the Champions League at Barbourfields Stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe to exit the tournament.
The People’s Team was booted out after the first leg ended goal-less at Kamuzu Stadium.
Platinum were in front as early as four minutes through Devon Chafa from the penalty spot but Peter Banda levelled the scores for Bullets.
The hosts were reduced to ten men when Albert Eonde was sent for an early shower after a reckless foul on Precious Sambani.
However, Platinum restored the lead through Never Tigere following a defensive error.
But Bullets’ hopes were restored as striker Patrick Phiri pulled level for Bullets in the 79th minute.
The goal forced Platinum to come out with guns blazing as they knew that Bullets would advance if the match ended 2-2.
The hosts’ efforts paid off in the 81st minute when Perfect Chikwende struck the winner that ensured their progression into the next round.
Platinum celebrated their success wildly having preserved their credibility but for Bullets, it was yet another disappointing campaign.
Bullets Coach Kallisto Pasuwa blamed the loss on lack of experience.
“At this stage, we needed maturity. My young players are still learning and they made some small mistakes for which we were punished. We needed to do more to keep the ball away from the opposition,” Pasuwa said.
His childhood friend, Norman Mapeza, said his charges did a great job.
“Defensively, we did very well and I am proud of the boys. It is always difficult to play against 11 men and I am happy that we are through to the next round,” Mapeza said.
At Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe, Masters were also booted out after goal-less draw against Proline FC of Uganda in the Confederation Cup.
The result meant Masters had lost the two-legged affair 3-0 on aggregate.
The Malawian side should blame itself for missing several chances throughout the game. Beston Jimu , Mussa Manyenje and Amadu Makawa were guilty of missing clear chances that would have made a difference.
Masters Coach, Abasi Makawa, said though disappointed with the exit, he was happy that his charges had learnt a lot during this year’s tournament.
“We dominated the game and created some chances. We just lacked the killer punch upfront. However, it is good that we participated in this competition. Our players have gained international exposure which will benefit their careers,” Makawa said.