The 66th edition of the overrated Blantyre derby ended goalless as Be Forward Wanderers extended their winless TNM Super League run against Nyasa Big Bullets to 14 games at Kamuzu Stadium yesterday.
The game turned into a characteristic drab affair that left Wanderers still leading the 16-member log table with 45 points from 21 games, three points ahead of the second-placed Bullets who have a game in hand and a better goal difference.
With the first round derby having also ended goalless, it is difficult remembering that this used to be a genuine derby, a feast of goals and drama.
Wanderers Coach Bob Mpinganjira, who as a striker could score eight goals in single game for the Nomads, seemed to suggest that this was two points dropped rather than a point gained.
Mpinganjira said: “There is nothing like pressure. We are just focusing on the forthcoming games. The team is fine. We just need to polish it upfront. It was a difficult game as usual. When you are playing rivals, it is always tough. We played very well in both halves but we were not sharp enough upfront. We will go back to the drawing board and polish up.”
Bullets assistant coach Peter Mponda described the result as good.
“It is okay for us. It is still in our hands; we are not worried at all because at one stage we were 11 points behind the leaders and now the gap is just three points. We do not have to rely on any other team. If we win all our games and the leaders also win theirs, we would win the championship,” Mponda said.
The game had revenge plastered all over the blue side of Blantyre as the last time Wanderers beat their neighbours in the league was on July 1 2012.
Wanderers won that game 2-1 and since that time, Bullets have dominated proceedings, winning five times while 10 games have ended in draws.
That trend continued yesterday.
The game was balanced for the better part of the first half but Wanderers should have scored in the 38th minute when Babatunde Adepoju raced clear on the right wing, crossed the ball across the goal mouth where Ted Sumani flicked it to Zicco Mkanda but the towering forward headed wide off the near post.
On the other end, Mike Mkwate’s 42nd minute long range screamer, which Wanderers goalkeeper William Thole spilled then collected on second attempt, was Bullets’ last contribution to the opening half.
Two minutes into the second half, Isaac Kaliyati thought he had put Wanderers ahead but when Babatunde flicked the ball onto his path after meeting a cross from the right wing, the winger sent his acrobatic volley into the blue and orange terraces.
Bullets freshened things up, withdrawing striker Chiukepo Msowoya for Patrick Phiri before McFarlen Mgwira replaced Mkwate. Aziz Mwakifuna took Chimwemwe Idana’s place.
Wanderers, too, substituted Mkanda for Mike Kaziputa as Francisco Madinga gave way for Simeon Singa.
Nickson Nyasulu’s miss from Peter Banda’s free-kick late into the game summed up the goalless afternoon.
Wanderers-Thole, Chembezi, Malata, Sumani, Sanudi, Madinga, Manyozo Jnr, Zulu, Kaliyati, Babatunde, Mkanda.
Bullets-Chiyenda, Petro, Nyasulu, Chirwa, Mkwate, Idana, Sambani, Kayira, Banda, Msowoya, Kajoke
Peter Kanjere is a versatile Journalist currently working for Times Group as Assistant Editor for The Daily Times.
With vast experience in the industry, he is also an accomplished Sports Analyst, whose exploits in sports reporting and analysis span beyond the length and breadth of the African continent.