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Teams welcome players from national duty

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Albert Mpinganjira

Airtel Top 8 Cup quarterfinalists have welcomed back their stars who were on duty with the Malawi National Football Team for the Fifa Qatar 2022 World Cup qualifiers in South Africa and Benin.

This weekend, Airtel action moves to Chitowe in Dwangwa, Nkhotakota District, where there will be two matches.

Mighty Wanderers take on Moyale Saturday while Nyasa Big Bullets lock horns with Mafco on Sunday.

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For the better part of the week, Wanderers, Bullets and Moyale trained without their top stars as they faced Cameroon and Mozambique.

The three clubs heaved a sigh of relief following the players’ return Thursday.

The Nomads welcomed back their coach Bob Mpinganjira, goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa and defenders Stanley Sanudi, Francis Mlimbika and Peter Cholopi.

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Bullets had goalkeeper coach Swadick Sanudi, captain Chimwemwe Idana, defender Gomezgani Chirwa, striker Hassan Kajoke and goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe while Moyale were anxiously looking forward to the return of skipper Lloyd Njaliwa.

Wanderers Assistant Coach Albert Mpinganjira said they were set for the return match after losing the first leg 0-1 at Kamuzu Stadium.

“The arrival of our head coach and the players has boosted our preparations. Their absence affected us, for sure, but things still worked out in training. We should have a clear picture of our preparations by Friday, when we will have a full squad. Our goal is to overturn the tables and progress,” Mpinganjira said.

Moyale Coach Pritchard Mwansa said Njaliwa joined the team in Dwangwa Thursday.

“We are not carried away with the first leg result. We know that Wanderers will come flat out to avenge defeat. So we must be on the lookout. We have been training without our captain since last week and we are happy that he is now back. I know he has learnt a lot at the national team and we will count on his leadership,” Mwansa said.

Wanderers need to win with a two-goal margin to progress to the semi-finals while Moyale, who won the first leg courtesy of Njaliwa’s goal, will just need a draw to go through.

Mafco had no player on national duty but have welcomed back defending midfielder Paul Ndlovu, who missed the first encounter due to injury.

Mafco lost the first leg 3-1 at Kamuzu Stadium and will be hoping to make full use of home ground advantage to turn the tables.

Kajoke opened the scores for Bullets before Babatunde Adepoju’s brace which knocked the steam out of the Salima-based soldiers, who managed to grab a face-saver through Martin Masoatheka.

The last second leg quarterfinal matches are on next week, with TN Stars hosting Silver Strikers while Civil Service United will be away in Karonga against Karonga United.

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