Nomads, Big Bullets in league decider
Blantyre giants, Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers, finish their last instalment of the season when they square up this afternoon in a potential title-decider at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
The Blantyre derby could not have come at a better time as the two sides are battling for the TNM Super League title.
Both teams head into this fixture with swagger, having won their latest fixtures by convincing margins.
With seven games remaining, Wanderers top the standings with 54 points from 23 games, seven points above second-placed Bullets, who have a game in hand.
Any slip-up for either side would be dangerous with the title race heading for the exciting final stages.
A win for Wanderers would mean the title is for them to lose. Victory for Bullets would wipe out the Nomads’ cushion to four points thereby piling pressure on them.
Bullets have a better head-to-head record against their arch-rivals in the league, having dominated the fixture since 2012.
But with Wanderers desperate for the championship, they would be looking to grind out a win.
Despite boasting a wealth of talent in domestic football, Wanderers’ biggest problem has been lack of cohesion, especially when facing top-four sides this season.
For Bullets, their biggest problem has been lack of goals against top teams.
All in all, the Blantyre derby will always keep fans on the edge of their seats.
Smarting from a 3-1 victory over Moyale Barracks last week, the Nomads hope to continue their scoring spree against their rivals.
Bullets are also coming from a 3-0 win over Blue Eagles and are undefeated and yet to concede in the second-round.
Nomads Team Manager, Steve Madeira, said the fixture is a must-win for them as they yearn for their first title since 2006.
“We have a big tactical task. This is probably the league’s decider. We have to win it to give ourselves 80 percent chances of claiming the league. It is also an opportunity for us to prove our doubters wrong,” Madeira said.
The Nomads have a score to settle against Bullets, having lost the first-round fixture 1-0, through Emmanuel Zoya’s goal, before losing again in the Carlsberg Cup 5-3 on post-match penalties at the same venue.
Probably, Wanderers players have a fear-factor when facing Bullets in league games, having played second fiddle to them since 2012 Bullets Team Manager, James Chilapondwa, knows the importance of the match.
“We do not have an edge over them. We are not as we were in our last game. This is a different ball-game altogether,” he said.
In this fixture, Wanderers have a chief tormentor, Jafali Chande, who enjoys scoring against his former club. Chande has netted five goals against Bullets in all competitions since crossing the floor.
Chande is likely to partner veteran striker Esau Kanyenda who is Wanderers’ top scorer in the league with seven goals.
In the middle of the park, Joseph Kamwendo, Alfred Manyozo and Isaac Kaliati can cause plenty of problems for Bullets.
But Wanderers have a suspect defence in the absence of Lucky Malata due to injury, with Harry Nyirenda and Stanley Sanudi the only steady defenders.
For Bullets, the Rodgers Yasin-led coaching panel will likely start with Chiukepo Msowoya, Muhammad Sulumba and Mussa Manyenje upfront with Nelson Kangunje behind them.
Chimango Kayira and Fischer Kondowe can also be handy for the Nomads. Bullets Captain, John Lanjesi and Miracle Gabeya should form a rock-solid defence to protect goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda.
In other games this afternoon, Azam Tigers host Red Lions at Chilomoni Stadium whereas Mafco and Masters Security clash again in a space of three days.
Chitipa Stadium will host its second league match as Chitipa United face Blue Eagles.
Wanderers 1 Bullets 2(2015)
Bullets 1 Wanderers 1(2016)
Wanderers 0 Bullets 1(2016)
Bullets 1 Wanderers 0 (2017)
Wanderers -Kanyenda (seven goals
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