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What a season!

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After nine months of teasing and sometimes, annoying suspense and unpredictability, the only predictable thing is that the TNM Super League race wraps up this afternoon. Surely, one team only will claim the Holy Grail.

The champion will emerge from two places. Be in Chitowe Stadium in Dwangwa, Nkhota-kota District, enjoy the aroma of sugar or indeed, have a slice of sugarcane from the estate.

If Dwangwa is too far for you then bask in the sun of Kamuzu Stadium and hope that it will not rain in Blantyre.

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The choice is yours really, only that the choice of who really wins the title is beyond your control.

What is certain is that either wounded Nyasa Big Bullets or fully-armed Kamuzu Barracks (KB) will be anointed as champions.

In Blantyre, Bullets, chasing a record -smashing 14th title, host Blue Eagles desperate for nothing short of a win while praying that Dwangwa United should upset strong favourites, KB.

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Quite a tall order for Dwangwa considering that KB are unbeaten in six league games, which they have won on the trot, scoring 13 goals and letting in three.

In football, just never say never, but the reality is that even if Bullets and KB win this afternoon, it will not be enough to guarantee the People’s Team the championship.

This is the case as KB lead Bullets by a point on 58 points going into the final games.

Bullets, who have since fired Team Manager, Rahim Ishmael and assistant Coach, Mabvuto Lungu, have this season predictably been full of in-fighting that also saw the exit of the then chairperson, Sammy Chilunga, coach Franco Ndawa, General Secretary Kelvin Moyo (suspended)and technical director, Billy Tewesa.

Yet Bullets got their season promisingly as they cruised to the Presidential Cup championship after beating Moyale Barracks FC in the final. However, the league form was patchy.

Failure to win on the road in the league’s first-round, too many five home draws, injuries of key players John Lanjesi, Bashir Maunde, Vincent Gona and the exit of Sankhani Mkandawire and Owen Chaima to Mbeya City FC of Tanzania, plus the uncertainty that surrounded Muhamad Sulumba’s failed transfer to Polokwane City in South Africa all undermined Bullets’ title charge.

Despite being unbeaten in the league at home, Bullets were not convinced with Ndawa’s abilities they gave him the bullet alongside Tewesa.

Results did not improve and Bullets recalled Elia Kananji, who was sacked by rivals, Be Forward Wanderers, to give coaches, Llyod Nkhwazi and Mabvuto Lungu, company in the technical panel.

If Ndawa’s sacking was supposed to inject new life in Bullets, the contrary happened as the coaching panel chopped and changed the starting XI with Yamikani Fodya and Kondwani Kumwenda as the only obvious starters.

A dip in form meant that even leading scorer and captain, Chiukepo Msowoya, had at times, to be content with a place on the substitutes’ bench.

The trouble was that Bullets, despite the likes of Collen Nkhulambe showing promise with some goals and Mussa Manyenje scoring in crucial games, lacked plan B for a reliable regular scorer.

All this leaves Bullets need a win at all cost today against Eagles, who too crashed out of the race despite being early season pace-setters. Eagles faltered along the way due to poor away form, a lack of defensive discipline and injuries in the critical stages of the campaign. Bullets won the championship last season with 62 points.

For KB, they are on the cusp of history as they might become the first Malawi Defence Force team to win the Super League championship since the league’s birth in 1986.

KB have improved their performance this season as last year, they finished on a distant 10th with 36 points.

KB owe their improved form to impressive home record of 14 wins, one draw and no loss. KB, Mafco and Bullets are the only teams unbeaten at home in the league this season.

KB, who are also benefitting from continuity, depth and right balance in the playing squad, might join an exclusive club of other past league winners such as Silver Strikers, Civo United, Be Forward Wanderers and defunct Escom United.

The season will surely go down in history as one of the most unpredictable. Of course, we can predict that only one team will be declared champion whereas Civo, Karonga United and Max Bullets are down and out of the top-flight. However, you just cannot rule out yet another surprise today.

 

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