By Williams Gondwa:
Airtel Top 8 inaugural tournament winners, Silver Strikers, have been drawn against Blantyre giants Be Forward Wanderers in the quarterfinals of this year’s competition.
Football Association of Malawi (Fam) conducted the draw Thursday at Mpira House in Blantyre.
The competition will, for the first time, be without last year’s finalists Nyasa Big Bullets, who were banned after violent incidents that marked the final against eventual winners Blue Eagles at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
The development enabled ninth-placed TN Stars to take up the TNM Super League champions’ spot.
The lots also saw Carlsberg Cup champions, Masters Security, being paired against Kamuzu Barracks whereas TN Stars were drawn against Karonga United.
Civil Sporting Club will start the competition against first timers Mzuni.
Champions Blue Eagles’ failure to make the 2018 Super League top eight means they will not defend the trophy.
Silver Vice General Secretary, Innocent Kadam’manja, welcomed the draw, saying meeting Wanderers would motivate the club to win the cup.
“You need to beat the best to become the best. We will fight to go past Wanderers and lift the cup. Beating Wanderers will give us the boost to go further in the competition,” Kadam’manja said.
Wanderers Team Manager, Steve Madeira, said his side is ready to face any team in the competition.
“We knew the teams that had qualified for the tournament and we expected this. We have played Silver many times in both cup and league games and we just need to prepare well. This is a trophy we can win and we need to beat Silver first before facing our next opponent,” Madeira said.
Fam General Secretary, Alfred Gunda warned against any acts of violence.
“We are happy with the draw and this is what we were looking forward to. We would like to thank Airtel for being a true partner to Malawi football. We are urging all competing teams and their fans to observe discipline and fair play at all times,” Gunda said.
Airtel Marketing Director, Frank Magombo, said the motto for this year’s competition is ‘Wakaa’ and aims at encouraging strikers to score more goals.
“We observed that last year’s tournament registered a low number of goals. So, we came up with ‘Wakaa’ to bring pomp to match venues. We are expecting a better tournament this year,” Magombo said.
This is the third edition of the competition since it was launched in 2017
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