Fans of Nyasa Big Bullets and Moyale Barracks will make the long trip to the Central Region for today’s 2016 Presidential Cup final at Civo Stadium.
The two teams will be meeting in the finals of the cup for the second time in four years, with Bullets winning the cup over the Mzuzu based Soldiers courtesy of a third minute strike from Gabadinho Mhango at the same venue when they first met in the finals.
Four years down the line, battle lines will be drawn again. Bullets will be aiming to make their own history of becoming the first team to win the cup twice while their opponents will be aiming to avenge that painful defeat from a match they mostly dominated.
Despite Collins Nkuna’s attempts to distance Saturday afternoon’s final from the one in 2009, which his side lost to Bullets, there’s one thing which he can’t deny: Moyale Barracks will face Bullets in a familiar scenario after not beating them in the league for the past three seasons.
For the past seasons in league matches, Bullets have been recording victories over their opponents, with the latest being a 1-nil victory over the Soldiers which decided the 2014 Super League title.
But will it be a walk-over for the reigning Super League champions? Absolutely not.
Moyale will be a tough nut to crack. Based on current form, the Soldiers have got an upper hand over Bullets who are struggling in the top flight. The Soldiers are doing very well in the league while their opponents are currently 10th in the top flight standings.
However, without the services of key three players namely Khuda Muyaba, Lovemore Mitengo, and Gasten Simkonda, the Soldiers will feel the pain of not having these deadly men inside the field of play.
On the other hand, Bullets will be without Muhamad Sulumba, Chikondi Likwemba, and Dalitso Sailesi due to injuries but they will welcome back Sankhani Mkandawire from his long term knee injury which he sustained last season. Bullets’ trio of Diverson Mlozi, Owen Chaima, and Chiku Kanyenda and Moyale’s Juma Chikwenga and Boy Boy Chima are the only players involved in this Saturday’s final to have played a part in the 2009 final.
To reach this far, Bullets thumped defending champions Mafco 3-nil while Moyale Barracks defeated Mighty Wanderers 1-nil.
Referee for the finals Patrick Ngoleka, who also officiated last year’s Carlsberg Cup final between Bullets and rivals Mighty Wanderers, will become the second man to take charge of two major local cups in Malawi within a period of seven months.
If history is to repeat itself, then it will be Franco Ndawa’s side lifting the trophy in Lilongwe for the second time since its inspection.