The 2021 K78 million Airtel Top 8 Cup will kick off on October 30 with some exciting ties after Football Association of Malawi (Fam) released dates and fixtures for the tournament Sunday.
Fam Competitions and Communications Director Gomezgani Zakazaka said there will be no draw for the quarterfinals but the draw will be conducted in the semifinals.
“The semifinals and final shall be played on knock out basis in single fixtures,” he said in a statement.
However, the quarterfinals will be played on home-and-away basis, with teams that finished in the top four starting the first leg at home before playing second leg away.
According to the fixture, holders Silver Strikers, who finished second in the league, will start cup defence with a tricky match against seventh placed TN Stars whereas Super League champions Nyasa Big Bullets will face Mafco, who finished on position eight.
Mighty Wanderers, who will finish third in the league, will meet sixth placed Moyale Barracks. Fourth placed Civil Service United will face Karonga United.
The first legs of quarterfinals will be played between October 30 and November 7, with the return leg set for between November 20 and 28.
The semifinals will be played between December 11-12 before the final on December 18.
Silver Assistant Coach Macdonald Yobe was confident of retaining the cup.
“We do not want to promise the moon and the sun at the moment but it is our wish to defend the cup,” Yobe said.
The Bankers have won the competition twice in three years, in 2017 and 2019, whereas Blue Eagles won it in 2018.
Wanderers Assistant Coach Albert Mpinganjira said they had set their sights on the Airtel Top 8 Cup.
“Moyale are a good team but we will try to motivate the players to win it,” Mpinganjira said.
The Nomads finished as runner-up in the inaugural edition in 2017.
Champions will pocket K17.5 million plus a trophy whereas the runner-up will get K5 million.
All the participating eight teams will get K1 million each while player of the tournament and top goal-scorer will each pocket K500,000.
Man-of-the-match in each match will be getting K50,000.