The first Blantyre derby to be played at Kamuzu Stadium in two years is upon us and the result will have bad consequences for the loser, especially if the loser is Be Forward Wanderers.
Bullets opened up a seven point gap over their bitter rivals and anything other than a win for Wanderers will hand the league leaders a massive advantage in the race for the championship.
The coveted Blantyre Derby has always promised to entertain, but after a few less than impressive clashes in previous seasons, there is no doubt the derby has to some extent, lost its x-factor, as fans, especially from Wanderers, have been given very little to celebrate.
However, this weekend’s encounter boasts more than just bragging rights up for grabs between the Blantyre giants.
It’s a must-win for Wanderers in order to increase the pressure on Bullets who sit pretty atop the Super League table with 45 points.
Last time out in the Super League, the derby ended in an entertaining stalemate at the Bingu National Stadium on 28 April, 2018 with Bullets’ Chiukepo Msowoya cancelling from the spot an Amos Bello first half strike.
The last meeting between the two sides was a semifinal clash in a cup competition where Bullets won 2-1.
However, the last Blantyre derby in the Luso TV Football Fiesta in 2016 ended 3-0 in favor of Wanderers who are yet to beat their rivals in a league match since 2013.
The league leaders will be without Righteous Banda, Miracle Gabeya, Emmanuel Zoya and Precious Phiri due to injuries but they will welcome back Dalitso Sailesi who rejoined the team from Lusaka Dynamos but was yet to get his clearance for him to start playing for his former club.
Bullets will rely heavily on Msowoya who has scored more than four goals past Wanderers since his arrival from Mozambique.
The 13-time Super League winners will also rely on the attacking prowess of in-form Nelson Kangunje, Patrick Phiri and Henry Kabichi who are now scoring goals for fun.
As for Wanderers, they will rely heavily on Yamikani Chester who is facing a late fitness test following an ankle injury he sustained during the training session with the national team.
Lucky Malata, Jafali Chande and Richard Chipuwa are all back to full training and are expected to play an important role in one of their most important games.
Bullets are still unbeaten in the ongoing season and they have only conceded once at home.
The people’s team also hold a remarkable five-year unbeaten home run in the Super League.
Victory for Wanderers will see them becoming the first team to beat Bullets at home in five years.
Heading into this encounter, both teams have a remarkable defensive record, conceding 8 and 9 goals respectively.
Bullets have scored 32 league goals, 12 more than their rivals.
This looks likely to be a very special derby where the winner will have all the reasons to walk around the town with heads up high.