It is not over until it is over. Moyale Barracks and Mighty Wanderers face-off in the return leg of the 2021 Airtel Top 8 Cup quarterfinal match at Chitowe Stadium this afternoon.
This is the battle whose overall winner will book a semifinal berth of the competition.
The two sides meet for the second time in a space of two weeks, with Moyale having a slender advantage after winning quarterfinal first leg 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium, courtesy of Lloyd Njaliwa’s goal.
Probably, the soldiers would be hoping to protect their advantage. On the part of Nomads, they would be hoping to overturn the tables.
For Moyale, they just need a draw to progress to the semifinals whereas the Nomads must beat Moyale by more than a two-goal margin.
Both Moyale and Wanderers have rich history in cup matches and have what it takes to reach the semifinals of the competition.
Moyale and Wanderers also met in the Airtel Top 8 Cup semifinal in 2017 but the Nomads triumphed 3-2.
They also met in the semifinals of the Fisd Challenge Cup in 2018 which ended 2-1 in favour of the Nomads.
In all honesty, Moyale have been a hard nut to crack this season especially against the Nomads. The soldiers are unbeaten against the Nomads in three matches this season, having won 1-0 in the first round before a goal-less draw in the second round of the league.
Moyale Coach Prichard Mwansa admitted that it was a tricky situation.
“We know that they will come flat out. But we are not intimidated. We will stick to our game plan,” Mwansa said.
Mwansa has assembled a good squad capable of crushing any force in domestic football.
Njaliwa is in form and will likely partner Raphael Phiri upfront.
Former Flames goalkeeper Macdonald Harawa will likely start while Innocent Bottoman, who was voted man-of-the-match in the first leg, will marshal the defence. The likes of Black Alisen, Clifford Fukizi and Ntopijo Njewa will likely be in the starting 11.
Facing Moyale in a space of two weeks, Nomads captain Alfred Manyozo Junior sounded confident that his troops will overturn the tables.
“The battle is not over yet. Anything can happen and we just need to be on top of our game. We have been in similar situations before so we are calm,” Manyozo said.
Wanderers Coach Bob Mpinganjira will have selection headache this afternoon.
Goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa will likely keep his place whereas Stanley Sanudi, Yinus Sheriff, Peter Cholopi and Francis Mulimbika will provide cover to him.
In attack, Nomads have plenty of options including Vincent Nyangulu, Peter Wadabwa, Vitumbiko Kumwenda and Yamikani Chester.
In another second leg match, Mafco will host Nyasa Big Bullets at the same venue on Sunday. Bullets have an advantage after a 3-1 victory in the first leg, courtesy of Babatunde Adepoju (brace) and Hassan Kajoke whereas Martin Masoatheka scored the consolation for Mafco.
Karonga United will host Civil Service United at Karonga Stadium next week.
Civil won the first leg 2-0 with goals from Ranken Mwale and Innocent Tanganyika.
Holders Silver Strikers will face TN Stars at Kasungu Stadium next week. Silver beat TN 1-0, thanks to Patrick Macheso goal.
The champion will walk away with K17 million whereas the runner-up will get K5 million.