Silver Strikers and Nyasa Big Bullets are familiar foes and will, this afternoon, clash in the quarterfinal of the inaugural K90 million FDH Bank Cup at Silver Stadium.
This is the battle whose winner will book a semi-final berth against Mighty Wanderers, who knocked out Mafco 2-0 to reach the last four.
The loser will get K1 million courtesy of FDH Bank.
Both sides have what it takes to reach the semi-final stage but, this afternoon, only one winner will go through.
Additionally, the clash has come at a time the two sides are also fighting for the TNM Super League championship this season as they are separated by two points, with Bullets at the top with 48 points from 22 matches whereas second-placed Silver have 46 points from 24 matches.
Interestingly, Bullets and Silver have shared fortunes in the league this season. Bullets defeated Silver 2-1 last month in the second round whereas the Bankers claimed a 1-0 victory in the first round.
But the hour has come for both sides to show their supremacy over each other.
In all fairness, Bullets have a dedicated and courageous squad if the Cecafa Cup performance is anything to go by.
On the other hand, Silver also have a skillful side capable of crashing any side in domestic football.
Bullets are heading into the match after a 1-0 loss to Express FC of Uganda in the Cecafa Cup final whereas Silver lost by a similar margin to Mighty Tigers in the league.
Facing Bullets again in a space of three weeks, Silver Coach Daniel Kabwe sounded calm.
“We had a bad outing to Blantyre but time has come for us to make amends. This is a must-win game for us and the boys are ready to fight to the end,” Kabwe said.
In all honesty, Silver have been hard nut to crack especially at home, where they are yet to lose.
Kabwe will likely have selection headache on who will start between the sticks this afternoon. At the back, Nickson Mwase will likely lead the defence alongside Chisomo Mpachika, Mike Robert and Hadji Wali.
In attack, Maxwell Phodo, Blessings Tembo and Stain Davie can cause plenty of problems on a good day.
But past battles did not favour Silver after winning two matches, three losses and three draws against Bullets.
Sounding calm and composed, Bullets Coach Kalisto Pasuwa said his troops would play to win the match.
“This is new game and the best team will win. We are not under pressure. The approach is going to be positive,” he said.
Sankhani Mkandawire will lead the defence alongside Nixon Nyasulu, Gomezgani Chirwa and Eric Kaonga at the same time providing cover to goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda.
Exciting midfielder Chimwemwe Idana will likely partner Chimango Kaira in midfield, with Hassan Kajoke and Bright Munthali upfront.
The winner between Silver and Bullets will join Wanderers, Ekwendeni Hammers and Rumphi United in the FDH Bank Cup semi-finals.
Wanderers progressed to the semi-finals after beating Mafco 2-0 at Kamuzu Stadium.
The other semi-final will be a Northern- Region affair involving Ekwendeni Hammers and Rumphi United.
Hammers reached the last four after beating Ntopwa FC 2-0 whereas Rumphi knocked out Dedza Young Soccer 4-1.
The winner of the inaugural FDH Bank Cup will pocket K25 million, the highest prize money on the land, whereas the runner-up will get K8 million.
Meanwhile, FDH Bank Senior Marketing Manager Ronald Chimchere has said they were excited with the last quarterfinal match, which will take the competition to the next level.
“The cup has been progressive so far. We have witnessed massive competition to this stage, which is good for football. We look forward to the semi-finals, the finals and eagerly anticipate crowning of the K25 million winner.
“However, at this level, the loser will walk away with K1 million as consolation while man of the match will walk away with K50,000 and a miniature. It is FDH Bank Cup time, it is Watsala Watsala time,” he said.
Head to Head
Bullets 2 Silver 1
Silver 1 Bullets 0
Silver 0 Bullets 1
Bullets 3 Silver 1
Bullets 1 Silver 1
Silver 0 Bullets 0
Bullets 1 Silver 1