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One but last call

Nyasa Big Bullets, Silver Strikers in Airtel Top 8 Cup semis clash

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Holders Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers are familiar foes in domestic football and this afternoon they face-off in the semi-final of the 2022 Airtel Top 8 Cup at Kamuzu Stadium.

At stake is a place in the final of the competition- whose winner will pocket K17.5 million plus a trophy.

Whenever the two sides meet, the stakes are always high.

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This is a repeat of the 2021 Airtel Top 8 Cup final in which Bullets triumphed 5-3 on post-match penalties after 1-1 stalemate in regulation time.

The Bankers have a score to settle against Bullets, having also lost a league match 3-1 at the same venue before a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture at Bingu National Stadium.

Surely, the match, which will be the main attraction this weekend, is likely to be a tough battle between two big teams.

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This is the last piece of silverware this season.

For Bullets, they will be looking for a treble, having defended the league title for four consecutive years and also winning the FDH Bank Cup.

On the other hand Silver are hoping to make history by becoming the first team to win the competition for the third time in five years.

The Bankers endured a difficult campaign in 2022 but have rich history in the Airtel Top 8 Cup, having won it in 2017 and 2019.

Silver were the inaugural winners of the competition when they beat Mighty Mukuru Wanderers 10-9 on post-match penalties after goal-less draw in regulation time. They did it again in 2019 when they beat Karonga United 1-0 at BNS.

Bullets Coach Kalisto Pasuwa said his troops must exercise caution ahead of the clash.

“It is always a tight match between us and Silver. Any team that sleeps in today’s match will get punished. We should avoid complacency for us to win the match,” Pasuwa said.

In all fairness, both Bullets and Silver have what it takes to win the cup.

Bullets will welcome back striker Babatunde Adepoju from injury. They also have several star names including Patrick Mwaungulu, Chimwemwe Idana and Gomezgani Chirwa.

Taking his turn, Silver Coach Leo Mpulula declared total war on Bullets.

“We want the cup more than Bullets. We will go flat out against Bullets. Let them underrate us at their own peril,” Mpulula said.

The Bankers have no injury concerns ahead of the clash.

Stain Davie, Chawanangwa Kaonga, Chinsinsi Maonga and Zebron Kalima are potential match winners for Silver.

On their way to semifinals, Bullets knocked out Karonga 8-1 on aggregate. They won the first leg 7-0 at Kamuzu Stadium before a 1-1 draw in the second leg at Karonga Stadium.

On the part of Silver, they defeated Kamuzu Barracks 3-1 on aggregate. The two teams played out to a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Chitowe before Silver won 2-0 at Champions Stadium in Mponela on Sunday.

In another semifinal, Wanderers will face Blue Eagles at Kamuzu Stadium tomorrow. Wanderers reached the semifinals after beating Mafco 4-0 on aggregate whereas Eagles eliminated Dedza Dynamos 3-2 on aggregate.

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