…Bullets vow to overturn deficit against Silver Strikers
Airtel Top 8 Quarterfinal Second Leg fixtures gets into action this weekend with four teams aiming to progress to the semifinals of the most prestigious cup competition in Malawi.
The Quarterfinal first leg saw Be Forward Wanderers, Moyale Barracks, Kamuzu Barracks and Silver Strikers edging out Azam Tigers, Mafco FC, Blue Eagles and Nyasa Big Bullets respectively to put one leg into the semifinals.
With MK15 million up for grabs for the winner, battle lines have be drawn in all the regions of the country where four out of the eight teams will bow out of the competition if they fail to overturn the deficit in the second leg.
Tigers will face their second biggest test against Malawi’s most decorated team in cup competitions at sun-bathed Kalulu Stadium on Saturday. There’s a sense of optimism for Patricio Kulemeka’s boys though Yasin Osman went undefeated against Kau Kau boys in all competitions last season.
Second half strikes from Jafali Chande and Joseph Kamwendo helped the Nomads to triumph over Tigers to put one leg into the semifinal spot. With statistics already favoring the Nomads, Tigers Technical Director Robin Alufandika told Malawi24 that his boys will give it all against the cup specialists.
“It’s not yet over until it is. My boys will give all against the Nomads. They scored two goals past us so what can prevent us from doing the same at our own backyard? We will die fighting,” he said.
On the other hand, Wanderers Team Manager Steve Madeira said his side has a history to protect but warned his boys against complacency.
“Taking a two goal lead against Tigers is a plus for us but we will not be complacent against them because this is football and anything can happen. We have targeted the cup because we have a history to protect as you know that we win each and every cup in its inaugural year so we are ready to finish the job we started last week,” he explained.
At Nankhaka Stadium, Blue Eagles will entertain Kamuzu Barracks in a match where the Soldiers are favorites to progress to the final of the competition.
Billy Phambala guided KB to their first ever Super League title triumph last season and he also guided the Soldiers into FISD Cup final where they lost to Wanderers on penalties.
The Soldiers are undefeated in their last three matches against the Area 30 based Cops, winning twice in the league last season before thumping Eagles 4-2 in the first leg last week at Civo Stadium.
However, Eagles Coach Audrey Makunyula has vowed to overturn the deficit against Phambala’s boys.
“We will go flat out in search for the two crucial goals because if we are to progress, we must aim for a kill. We struggled in the first half against them last week but then we came back into the second half where we scored two goals so we are still very much into this tie,” he said.
KB’s Team Manager Francis Shaba said his side will not underestimate Eagles.
“We won’t underestimate our friends because anything can happen in football and if we managed to score four goals past them, so can they,” he explained.
At Mzuzu Stadium, an all army affair will determine the fate of either Moyale Barracks or Mafco FC.
Charles Kamanga has done wonders since taking over from Nicolas Mhango just before the commencement of the new season.
The Kaning’ina boys are strong contenders to progress into the semifinals of the cup after thumping their brothers in arms 2-0 at Chitowe Stadium. Scoring two away goals against a difficult Salima based side was a milestone for Kamanga’s side which will just be looking forward to frustrate Temwa Msuku’s depleted boys.
However, Msuku said all is not lost.
“They managed to score two goals past us at our own backyard, what can prevent us from doing the same to them at their backyard? We will go there with a mission of making our own history and we are very optimistic of overturning the deficit against our brothers in arms,” he concluded.
And on Sunday, the biggest game of the week will see struggling Nyasa Big Bullets hosting the Central Bankers at Mulanje Park Stadium.
The People’s team are yet to win any game in all the competitions this season having played three games without scoring a goal for the first time in their history. Silver Strikers take a one goal lead courtesy of the last minute strike from former Bullets player Victor Limbani.
The two teams are not new to each other. Last season, the Bankers knocked Bullets out of the FISD Cup at Kamuzu Stadium and they have vowed to continue from where they stopped last week.
However, Bullets coach Nsazurwimo Ramadhan has said Silver Strikers will not leave Mulanje Park Stadium unscratched.
“It’s just a single goal and we are ready to overturn the deficit on Sunday. We had problems with scoring goals but everything is now okay and we are ready to do the wonders against our friends. We will not be under pressure but we will make sure that Silver will not leave them unscratched,” he said.
On his part, Bankers Coach Lovemore Fazili has vowed to pile more misery on Bullets.
“We will continue from where we stopped last week. We are unfazed and we are looking forward to progress to the semifinals and possibly win the cup,” he explained.
The cup is being sponsored by Malawi’s leading mobile service provider, Airtel, to the tune of K66 million for three years, with the winner taking home K15 million.
Apart from the bumpy prize money, man of the match winners in all matches are being rewarded with K50 000.