Airtel Top 8 preview: Wounded Bullets awaiting Bankers’ test, Nomads in Tigers’ den

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The quarterfinal first-leg fixtures for the inaugural K66 million Airtel Top 8 Cup kicks off this weekend in all the regions of Malawi with exciting fixtures.

The top eight finishers of last season will be fighting it out for a whopping K15 million prize money in one of the most lucrative cup competitions in Malawi.

At Bingu National Stadium, Silver Strikers will welcome wounded Nyasa Big Bullets in what is probably game of the week.

Bullets come off a 1-0 defeat away to Moyale Barracks in their second league match, while the Bankers go into the clash brimming with confidence after collecting two points out of six from their Southern Region trip last week.

The people’s team were less impressive in their defeat but the encounter in the capital city presents them with a good opportunity to bounce back.

Silver Strikers play Bullets in the cup.

Coach Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan assured all Bullets fans there was no need to press the panic button yet as his charges are eager to make amends following their poor start to the season.

For the Bankers, this clash will be a true test of character and a significant measure of how prepared they are for what should be a tough season for all 16 teams in the top flight league.

The last time the two teams played each other in a cup match was in 2016 when the Area 47 based side dumped Bullets out of FISD Cup courtesy of a second half header from veteran Blessings Tembo.

There are three further matches this weekend.

Two of the teams that started the season with league wins, Mafco FC and Moyale Barracks, lock horns in another Saturday match at Chitowe Stadium.

Temwa Msuku’s men beat Civil Sporting Club, while the Kaning’ina boys and their new coach Charles Kamanga defeated Bullets with the same margin.

Mafco FC coach is relishing the battle against Kamanga, but concedes it will be tough.

“It’s always difficult,” he said. “Moyale Barracks are our brothers in arms and coming from a victory over Bullets, it will be a cracker, Kamanga has assembled a very organised team and we are looking forward to the game,” he concluded.

On Sunday, cup specialists Be Forward Wanderers will play host to Azam Tigers at Balaka Stadium.

Team Manager Steve Madeira told the local media that his side has a history to protect.

“We win every cup in its inaugural year and that’s what we are intending to do. The boys are ready to deliver but we are not underestimating our friends,” he said.

Finally, reigning league champions Kamuzu Barracks, who are coming from a 1-nil defeat suffered at the hands of Wanderers last week in their opening league game, will host Blue Eagles at Civo Stadium.

Last season, the Soldiers enjoyed back to back success over the Area 30 based side but Eagles have vowed to pile more misery on Billy Phambala’s boys.

 

Airtel Top 8 first leg quarterfinal fixtures:

 

Saturday, May 13

14:30 – Silver Strikers vs Nyasa Big Bullets at Bingu National Stadium

14:30 – Mafco FC vs Moyale Barracks at Chitowe Stadium

Sunday, May 14

14:30 – Be Forward Wanderers vs Azam Tigers at Balaka Stadium

 

14:30-Kamuzu Barracks vs Blue Eagles at Civo Stadium.

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