…Kamwendo sees red, out of Blantyre derby…
Defending Carlsberg Cup champions Be Forward Wanderers are through to the quarterfinals of the competition thanks to their 1-nil hard fought victory over MAFCO FC at Balaka Stadium on Wednesday.
Influential midfielder Joseph Kamwendo was red carded in the second half but the Nomads managed to hold on to their lead. The red card means Kamwendo is ineligible for the big Blantyre derby on Sunday.
It was a tense encounter, with referee Aziz Nyirenda stopping the play on two occasions as the battle intensified throughout the entire 90 minutes.
However, it was Bongani Kaipa’s goal early in the first half that made the difference as the three time champions sailed through to the last eight to join Nyasa Big Bullets, Red Lions, Moyale Barracks and Blue Eagles who won their round of 16 ties last week.
The first 45 minutes was a tight affair with chances few and far between. The first chance fell the way of the defending champions and they made no mistake when Kaipa slotted the ball into the back of the net.
From there, Saidi Mtekama flashed the ball across the penalty box when Nomads defence was caught napping in the line of duty.
Five minutes before the break, the Nomads had a golden opportunity to double their tally when Rafick Namwera flicked a ball on for Precious Msosa but the former Zomba United forward’s volleyed effort was straight at MAFCO’S goalie.
In the second half, it was the visitors who came out in full force as they pressurized the hosts in search for the much needed equalizer but Nomads defence was too solid to prevent the Soldiers from scoring.
With more than 25 minutes on the clock to play, the Nomads were reduced to ten men when Kamwendo was sent off by referee Nyirenda for a reckless challenge in the middle of the park.
Playing one man down was a blow to the defending champions as they opted to sit back in defence of their slender lead but the more they sat back, the more they invited MAFCO FC to attack with full force.
MAFCO were coming wave after wave but they lacked the finishing composure in the final third as Wanderers defended jealously and after 90 minutes of play, the Nomads held on to progress to the last eight where they will know their next opponents when the draw is conducted on Friday.
However, Kamwendo and Ted Sumani will not be part of the squad which will play Bullets in the Super League match on Sunday. Sumani got his second yellow card in two games to eventually rule him out of the famous Blantyre derby.
The round of 16 is set to be completed over the weekend when Michiru Madrid will welcome Chitipa United at Chilomoni Stadium while Cobbe Barracks will take on Blantyre United on Saturday at Balaka Stadium.
The draw for the quarterfinals will be conducted by Football Association of Malawi (FAM) at half time during Michiru Madrid and Chitipa United clash.