The Airtel Top 8 semifinals have served up a mouthwatering encounter between Blantyre rivals Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers.
Unlike in the quarterfinals, there is no second leg in the semifinals and the winner will face Blue Eagles in the final of the competition on 30th June 2018.
The two teams met in April in a Super League match which ended goalless but the current form favors Bullets to carry the day at the expense of struggling Wanderers.
Bullets made light work of Moyale Barracks in the quarterfinals, beating the Soldiers 1-0 courtesy of a Patrick Phiri first leg strike at Kalulu Stadium while Wanderers won 2-0 against Kamuzu Barracks to progress to the last four of the competition.
However, despite Bullets’ good run of form, head coach Rodgers Yasin admits that the match will not be an easy one.
“We are currently doing well but the match against Wanderers won’t be an easy one but we will strive to do well,” he told the media.
Bullets will be without some key players namely Pilirani Zonda, Emmanuel Zoya, Yamikani Fodya, Sankhani Mkandawire and Fischer Kondowe.
On the other part, Wanderers, who are currently struggling for form in the current season, are hoping to resurrect their season with a win over their rivals to finally put to an end all the squabbles within the club.
Wanderers’ latest 1-0 defeat to Red Lions in the Super League led to questions over their desire to defend the championship.
The Nomads are going into this match as underdogs. However, team manager Steve Madeira was optimistic of recording a victory over their rivals.
“It won’t be easy but we have got what it takes to record a victory over our rivals,” he told the media.
Wanderers will be welcoming back Harry Nyirenda who has recovered from his ankle injury.
In 2002, the two teams met in the semifinals of Embassy Trophy where Bullets won 5-4 on penalties and they went on to win the cup after beating MDC United.
In 2003, the two giants met again in the semifinals of BP Top 8 and it was Wanderers who got the better of their rivals with an emphatic 3-1 victory to proceed to the finals where they won the cup at the expense of Moyale Barracks.
Nine years ago, Wanderers won 4-3 on penalties to advance into the finals of the Presidential Cup and went on to win the cup after beating Escom United.
In 2012, the two teams met again in the semifinals of Standard Bank from which Wanderers won 4-3 on penalties after coming from behind and they went on to win the cup at the expense of Silver Strikers whom they defeated in the finals.
The last semifinal encounter between the two teams was in 2014 in a Carlsberg Cup when Bullets won 1-0 courtesy of a third minute strike from Jimmy Zakazaka and they went on to beat Zomba United 2-0 in the finals.