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Nomads, Big Bullets in battle for supremacy

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Malawi football’s theatre Kamuzu Stadium has, over its 50-plus years of existence, witnessed epic battles on the domestic and international scenes, but this afternoon over 20,000 spectators would witness history in the making when the country’s biggest powerhouses Mighty Be Forward Wanderers and Big Bullets square up in what promises to be a classic battle in the 2015 TNM Super League season.

For two hours or so, business in the country’s commercial capital would be at a standstill when thousands of supporters, some painting themselves in their club colours, would hasten to find a seat at the Kamuzu Stadium to bear witness to the mammoth clash.

For over 40 years clashes between these two arch-nemeses have invariably provided spectators with memorable moments that have made their way into the folklore of Malawian football.

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This season, the match is of greater significance since pride is not the only incentive on the plate.

Both sides have shown that they are geared to win the title which Bullets are defending after ending a nine-year league curse last year.

The champions are currently two points clear of the Nomads with 23 points from 11 matches but the Nomads have played a match less.

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Bullets have won six matches this season, drawn five times and have not lost any match.

Bullets have scored 20 goals and conceded 11 times.

On the other hand, the Nomads have won six times, lost once and drawn three times.

They have scored 16 goals and conceded nine times.

In terms of form, Bullets go into the match as slight underdogs after remaining unbeaten this season.

The Nomads succumbed to their first loss this season after going down 0-2 against Silver Strikers last weekend.

However, form does not always matter when going into this fixture. The fixture itself is big motivation for the players.

With more tough fixtures coming up for Wanderers, the Nomads know there would be no more margin for error in this afternoon’s match.

“We have forgotten about the past results. This is a new game.

“We have prepared well and we will see how God will help us in this match,” said Nomads coach Elia Kananji.

Wanderers would be without their suspended top goal scorer Muhammad Sulumba, but Kananji refused to press the panic button.

Bullets could not afford to be complacent as well after ending their three-match winless run unconvincingly against Civo United last weekend.

“This is a battle for supremacy. Apart from the points, pride is also at stake. The supporters always want to earn bragging rights after this fixture.

“As defending champions, we know teams will be coming hard at us therefore we are ready to do well,” said Bullets’ technical director Billy Tewesa.

Bullets last season exposed Wanderers’ weaknesses in the wings when Pilirani Zonda run with the ball from his half to the Nomads’ penalty area to score the winner in the 1-0 second round tie.

The Blantyre derby would not be complete without the physical battle between the defenders and the forwards.

Both sides have physical presence forward with Bullets relying on former Flames international Chiukepo Msowoya while the Nomads could miss the physical presence of Sulumba.

With all the permutations in place, this afternoon’s match promises to keep the thousands of anxious supporters on the edge of their seats for the entire 90-plus minutes.

Whatever the result, the supporters would likely go back home satisfied after partaking in the biggest football feast on the domestic scene.

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