Age is just a number but form is permanent. Yes, that’s how Valence Kamzere demonstrated his prowess as he helped Be Forward Wanderers to clinch the inaugural FISD Challenge Cup at the expense of Kamuzu Barracks on Saturday afternoon at Civo Stadium.
With K10 million at stake, both teams entertained spectators as they displayed brilliant football in front of Malawi’s Vice President Dr. Saulos Chilima.
The hosts had their first chance in the 4th minute through Diouf Simaone whose shot was well saved by Kamzere.
Moments later, it was Kelvin Hanganda who forced his way into the box only to fire straight at Foster Namwera who was too strong at the back for the Nomads.
The opening 20 minutes of the match belonged to the Soldiers who were coming wave after wave through Simaone, Harvey Nkacha and Pempho Kansichiri but Kamzere was very outstanding between the goal posts.
Nomads’ first realistic chance fell through to Peter Wadabwa who beat the offside trap only to be denied by Leman Nthala in goals for the hosts.
Few minutes later, Mike Kaziputa released Jimmy Zakazaka from the left flank of the field but the former Nyasa Big Bullets forward fired his effort wide from the goal post and it was goalless at half time.
Come second half, Kamuzu Barracks continued from where they stopped as they used their wings in attack but Hanganda upfront was very unfortunate not to find the opener. Just 7 minutes into the half, Kamzere produced yet another stunning save to deny Nkacha inside the penalty box for a corner.
Few minutes later, Simaone’ volley just outside the penalty box was once again well saved by Kamzere who was having a gland game in front of thousands of Nomads fans.
The Nomads were toothless in front of goals as Wadabwa and Zakazaka’ partnership failed to torment the hosts’ defence.
With less than 25 minutes to play, Amos Bello and Felix Zulu were introduced for Isaac Kaliyati and Zakazaka while the hosts introduced Gift M’bwana as they tried to re-organise their midfield.
Bello’ introduction almost paid dividends as he wrestled past Mustapha Salimu before sending a million dollar pass into the box only to be missed by Joseph Kamwendo who was outsmarted by Nthala in goals for the Soldiers. Few minutes later, Bello was at it again, this time around, his volley being cleared before crossing the line by Salimu.
The Nomads were on fire as they continued attacking from all cylinders but Wadabwa was tightly marked by Pilirani Makupe’ led defence at the back for the Soldiers.
With less than five minutes to play, Kamuzu Barracks almost got their goal but Simaone’ header was well saved again by the outstanding Kamzere and after 90 minutes of play without a goal, referee Misheck Juwa had to blow his final whistle for the teams to be separated by penalties.
Joseph Kamwendo, Peter Wadabwa, Amos Bello and Alfred Manyozo Jnr converted their spot kicks before Kamzere’ penalty save to deny Nthala from scoring and at the same time, inspiring Wanderers to a 4-3 victory over the Soldiers to win their second successive cup withing the space period of two months.