By Isaac Salima:
Mozambican side UD Songo Sunday emerged champions of a three-day pre-season international bonanza after beating hosts FCB Nyasa Bullets 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium.
The visitors finished their assignments with seven points after downing Mighty Mukuru Wanderers 2-0 in their opening game on Friday, before sharing spoils with fellow countrymen Ferroviário de Nampula.
Malawian teams are yet to win the competition since FCB Nyasa Bullets started organising it in 2019.
The first year saw Nampula winning it, with Zimbabwean side Chicken Inn doing it the following year.
However, the competition exposed lack of creativity as Bullets failed to score in three games while their rivals, Mighty Mukuru Wanderers, managed two goals on the last day having misfired in the first two matches.
UD Songo’s Dario Melo’s goal in the 31st minute won them the tournament.
Bullets fielded a completely changed side from a team that drew 0-0 against Wanderers on Saturday and the host seemed to be on the right track to stop the visitors when they enjoyed playing in the opening stages of the game.
Bullets’ goal drought continued as The People’s Team, despite their dominance, failed to find the scoring formula.
Lone striker Chinedu Okafor lacked supply as the combination of Mike Mkwate, Henry Kabichi and Yankho Singo failed to win the battle in midfield.
The visitors, who last year won Mocambola Liga, were the more organised team and their players’ aerial presence and physique made the difference.
Bullets, who ended the bonanza with two points, failed to score in three assignments, a situation coach Kalisto Pasuwa described as worrisome.
“It is not the problem of our strikers alone. For you to score, you also need supply from the midfield and that is an area we need to work on,” Pasuwa, who has lost goal poacher Babatunde Adepoju to South Africa First Division side Venda Academy, said.
It was, however, an opportunity for participating teams to test their players as they prepare for next season, a thing Songo’s captain John Banda acknowledged.
“We had a few days to prepare for the bonanza but we are happy that our coaches have seen how the team is shaping up,” Banda, who is also Flames’ stand-in-captain, said.
In an earlier game, Wanderers recovered from their previous defeat and draw, when they beat Nampula 2-1 to finish as runners-up with four points.
The Nomads came from behind to beat Nampula.
Christopher Kumwembe and Peter Cholopi were on target for the Nomads while Telihno Ernesto scored for the visitors, who also finished with two points.
The Nomads gave a spirited performance throughout to put Nampula under control.
A slip up in concentration saw Wanderers gifting Ernesto the goal but the Lali Lubani boys recovered on time to equalise and get the winning goal.
Wanderers Coach Mark Harrison was pleased with his side’s display.
“We were on the offensive compared to Sunday’s performance and I am happy that the games have helped us prepare well for the new season,” Harrison said.