Malawi’s representatives in the 2018 Confederation of African Football (CAF) competitions, Be Forward Wanderers and Masters Security say they are not scared of their opponents.
The two teams discovered their preliminary round opponents on Wednesday after a draw was held in Cairo, Egypt.
Tnm Super League title favorites, Wanderers who will be competing in the CAF Champions League have been paired against As Vita of DRC, while relegation battlers, Masters will face Angolan club Atletico Petroleos.
The first leg matches will be played on the weekend of 9 – 11 February, 2018.
Reacting to the draw, Nomads team manager Steve Madeira spoke highly of their opponents but said it is the sort of pairing they expected.
“We were aware that around 9 February, 2018, we will be competing in the CAF Champions league, so we are not taken by surprise. Vita is a very good team, has been playing in this tournament for many years. A year ago, I watched them meeting Mamelodi Sundowns of South Africa, I must admit they are a very good side,” said Madeira.
He added: “What we need is prepare well to achieve our mission. But first things first, we must beat Masters this Saturday to wrap up the league title then strategize on the CAF assignment. I think we will need to beef up the squad with about 3 to 4 new players before February,” said Madeira.
Vita who boast of 13 domestic league titles, have featured in CAF competitions 14 times, 6 in the champions league and 8 in the confederations cup.
In 2014, they were runners up in the champions league after losing to Algerian club ES Setif.
While Masters will be debuting on the continental scene, Wanderers will be making their fourth appearance in Africa’s premier club competition, having been there in 1997,1998 and 1999.
But Masters won’t be losing any sleep either ahead of the duel.
“When we registered for the competition, this is what we expected. Our focus is now on the league survival thereafter, we will start preparing for Atletico,” said club general secretary Zakariah Nyirenda.
Nyirenda then cast doubt on any new signings saying should that happen, it will be a bonus.
“We have a big squad, good enough to compete at such a high level so no need to panic. If we manage to rope in some new faces, that will be a bonus, but that will require money which is a problem for us at the moment,” added Nyirenda.
Meanwhile former national team captain James Sangala, who in his career played in Angola for Primeiro de Agosto has offered some tips to the Super League rookies.
“Atletico are a very big team. They used to be our rivals when I played for Agosto. They play quick attacking football and often rely on 2 to 3 players for individual brilliance. Masters better put their house in order because facing such a top team when you are fighting relegation is not an easy thing to contend with. In their preparations they have to focus on fortifying their defence, because Atletico’s major threat lies in quick attacking football. They have players who can force teams into committing fouls in dangerous areas, so they can also hit you through set pieces,” warned Sangala.
Wanderers will start the two legged affair at home while Masters will begin their campaign on the road.
But the two sides must first outsmart each other this Saturday in a league outing, which could decide the championship and the relegation puzzles.
A win for Wanderers guarantees them a first league crown in 11 years while victory for Masters will confirm their league survival, while relegating Premier Bet Wizards in the process.