Winners and losers of Week one of the TNM Super League

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Long at last, the 2018 TNM Super League season is here, bringing back the fun and drama that comes with fierce battles for three precious points.

The new season kicked off last Saturday with 9 matches, with all the 16 teams involved.

Week 1 brought about lots of similarities and differences as compared to the same stage last season.

The 2018 opening week witnessed a total of 20 goals plundered in 9 matches, while the 2017 term registered 11 goals from the same number of fixtures at a similar stage.

Of the 9 matches in 2017, 6 were wins with 3 draws, while the 2018 campaign has opened with 5 wins and 4 stalemates.

The 2017 campaign had a hat-trick in the opening week courtesy of Innocent Bokosi of Red Lions as they strolled past Blantyre United 4-1.

Bokosi’s younger brother Royal, nearly matched that feat when he netted a brace in Lions’ 2-2 draw with Mafco.

He was joined in the early race for the golden boot by John Malidadi Jnr of Blue Eagles and Be Forward Wanderers’ Peter Wadabwa, with braces each.

While some teams are already smiling with points in the bag, others are eyeing week 2 to get off the mark.

Defending champions Wanderers recovered from a patchy pre-season run to replicate their 2017 season start.

Back then they edged out Kamuzu Barracks (KB) 0-1 with a Julius Kajembe lone strike in the official season launch match at Civil Stadium, to set off on their way to the crown.

While this year, Lilongwe has also proved to be a good opening – week hunting ground for the Nomads, as they collected maximum points at the expense of Silver Strikers, in another official season launch encounter.

Silver themselves, have maintained their slow start to a league campaign, as was the case in 2017, where they drew 0-0 and 1-1 in week one, against Wizards and Azam Tigers respectively.

The Bankers went on to finish the season in third spot.

Nyasa Big Bullets who were runners-up in 2017, have had their best start to a season in 3 years.

Bullets gunned down KB 0-1 last Sunday to banish the demons that haunted them in week 1 of the 2016 and 2017 seasons respectively.

In 2016, the People’s team begun with a goalless home draw against Moyale Barracks at the Kamuzu Stadium, and repeated the same result against rookies Chitipa United at Mzuzu Stadium, a year later.

For KB, first week victories have eluded them for two back to back seasons, falling to Blantyre giants, Wanderers and Bullets respectively.

Civil Sporting Club have launched their season by sharing the spoils with Masters Security, in the first derby of the season ending 1-1 between the capital sides at the Dedza Stadium.

For both sides, a point is a good return as compared to the defeats suffered at the same stage to lake shore teams Mafco and Dwangwa United, at home for Civil and Masters on the road to Dwangwa.

As for Mafco and Dwangwa, they have had contrasting fortunes, drawing and losing in their respective season openers, to one team, Red Lions at home this year.

For Mafco, their concerns were compounded by the fact that they surrendered a two goal lead, while Dwangwa’s loss will surely give them the urgency in their search for coach Lloyd Nkhwazi’s replacement.

Red Lions have lately been known for their reputation as season pacesetters, before eventually losing ground.

The Zomba based soldiers are currently atop the standings with 4 points, just as they did after the first week in 2017, but then on goal difference, as they tied 3 points with 4 other teams. They finished the season in 9th place.

Mzuni are winless and pointless after their first outing which they lost 1-0 to rookies Nchalo United.

It’s a bad start for the Green Intellectuals, who last season achieved a point in their first fixture, drawing 0-0 away to Blue Eagles.

For the Eagles, the new campaign has begun with lots of promise, as they swept aside new boys TN Stars 1-4 at Kasungu stadium.

After putting Bullets to the sword with a narrow 1-0 success on day one last season, army outfit Moyale Barracks couldn’t repeat that this year as they were held to an unexpected 1-1 draw by visiting Nchalo at Mzuzu Stadium.

Tigers are last on the log table. Coachless at the moment, the Kau-Kau boys seem to be content by kicking off a season with a point.

Last term, the point came against visitors Silver Strikers (1-1), while this time around, they had to travel long to Karonga United to earn the point in a barren draw.

As week 2 of the new campaign looms large, all the teams have significant targets to meet, in their respective missions.

While some are eyeing back to back wins, others cannot afford to drop points again.

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