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Title contenders in tricky fixtures

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By Mabvuto Kambuwe

FINE-TUNING—Bullets in action against JKU

The TNM Super League reaches its climax this afternoon as three title contenders engage in tricky fixtures in Lilongwe and Blantyre.

Leaders Nyasa Big Bullets are in the Capital City to face unpredictable Blue Eagles at Nankhaka Stadium whereas third-placed Be Forward Wanderers will entertain second-placed Silver Strikers at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.

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Probably, all the three title contenders know the importance of the matches this afternoon. Bullets are at the summit of the log table with 55 points from 23 games, four points better than Silver who have played 26 games.

Wanderers are back to action in the league after mixed fortunes in the Carlsberg Cup and Fisd Challenge Cup against Masters Security. The Nomads have 45 points from 22 games.

For Bullets, they are meeting a side which defeated them 1-0 in the Airtel Top 8 Cup final at Bingu National Stadium some two months ago before avenging the defeat by a similar margin in their last game of the first round at Mulanje Park.

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Bullets are coming from a 2-0 victory over Dwangwa United in a league match played at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre whereas Eagles dropped two points after a goalless draw against Kamuzu Barracks at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.

It will be the third meeting between Eagles and Bullets this season with each side winning a single game in their last two meetings. This will be Calisto Pasuwa’s first real test since taking over the reins at the red side of town.

Eagles Coach DeKlerk Msakakuona said he was hoping for a positive result against Bullets.

“It is one of the toughest games for both sides but we can do it. We will approach the match with caution because we want points to finish in the top 8 this season,’’ Msakakuona said.

Eagles are on position six with 34 points from 26 games.

The policemen have talent in abundance with seasoned players such as Micium Mhone, Philip Masiye, Gregory Nachipo and Steve Chagoma.

On his part, Bullets Team Manager James Chilapondwa said he anticipates a tough match.

“We know the kind of atmosphere we will face in Lilongwe but we are ready for the match. It will not be easy but the players are in high spirits,” Chilapondwa said.

Bullets have plenty of experienced players to withstand the heat at the top level. Fischer Kondowe, Chimango Kaira, Henry Kabichi and Yamikani Fodya are carrying Bullets’ hopes in this match.

At Kamuzu Stadium, the battle between Nomads and Silver promises to be exciting and entertaining. The Nomads are coming from a 4-0 victory over Masters Security in the Fisd Challenge Cup whereas Silver dropped two points in a 0-0 stalemate against Moyale at Silver Stadium in a league encounter.

The two sides are separated by six points with Silver having amassed 51 points from 26 games.

Ahead of this afternoon’s crunching tie, the Central Bankers’ chief destroyers Michael Tetteh and Khuda Muyaba are in good form, which could be a concern for Nomads.

But Wanderers have quality in abundance with the likes of Essau Kanyenda, Joseph Kamwendo, Yamikani Chester and Stanley Sanudi enjoying top form.

The Nomads’ Coach Bob Mpinganjira said his charges are aiming for a win to increase their chances of defending the title.

“Surely, we need maximum points. We have to win the match to keep ourselves in the title race,” Mpinganjira said.

Wanderers came from a goal down to beat Silver 2-1 at their own backyard in the opening game of the 2018 season.

But Silver assistant Coach Peter Mgangira said side would want to maintain a good record against Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium.

“We enjoy playing them in Blantyre, so we believe we will get a good result. We might be underdogs in the title race but we are fighting our own battles,” Mgangira said.

In other matches to be played this afternoon, relegated Nchalo United host fourth-placed Civil Sporting Club at Kalulu Stadium whereas Karonga United face Mzuni at Karonga Stadium.

Head to head:

Eagles vs Bullets — 2017-BB 3 Eagles 0, Eagles 1 BB 0, 2016-BB 1 Eagles 0, Eagles 0 BB 0, 2015-Eagles 3 BB 0 BB 1 Eagles 1, 2014-Eagles 0 BB 1 ,BB 1 Eagles 1.

Wanderers vs Silver—2017- Silver 2 Wanderers 1, Wanderers 0 Silver 0, 2016-Wanderers 3 Silver 2, Silver 1 Wanderers 2 2015-Silver 1 Wanderers 0, Wanderers 0 Silver 2.

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