Following Nyasa Big Bullets’s triumph on Saturday, Andrew Cane Chilapondwa looks at just what set them apart from the rest of the Super League teams.
Bullets were crowned TNM Super League champions on Saturday afternoon following their 3-0 victory over Red Lions, claiming their fourteenth league title and their third title in the TNM Super League era.
It has been one of the most thrilling title chases in recent years as rivals Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers both looked to race with the champions but despite their best efforts, the duo would fall short of the elusive crown, and Malawi24 looks at where the title was won and lost over the course of the league season.
On closer inspection of the league campaign which is reaching its conclusion, it is easy to see what set Bullets apart from the rest of the chasing pack, and that is consistency.
The league champions won 23 out of the 28 games played, drawing six and losing just once, and while they did stutter in some games, their run of 25 games without defeat since the beginning of 2018 is where they earned the right to be called champions.
However, it is also important to note that even during Bullets’ stuttering games, they were not losing games and continued to pick up points, albeit at a very slow rate.
Unlike last season where Bullets struggled for form especially when playing away from home, the newly crowned champions improved a lot by collecting vital points away from their base.
Their 1-0 win over Kamuzu Barracks followed by 4-0 and 2-1 victories over TN Stars and Civil Sporting Club was a clear indication that they meant business.
Collecting maximum points at Nankhaka Stadium, Civo Stadium and at Mzuzu Stadium over a stubborn Mzuni FC was a warning to fellow title contenders that the people’s team were in for the trophy they last won in 2015.
As Wanderers were losing 2-0 to Azam Tigers and drawing to Dwangwa United and Karonga United at home, Bullets had already opened a gap and their only serious threat came from Silver Strikers who were on fire in the first round only to give up the title chase in the second round.
The Blantyre based giants have also scored a mammoth 51 goals in 28 games. This is severely contrasting to the Central Bankers, whose lack of firepower upfront was evident in the fact that they have only managed to score 39 goals, leading them to record too many draws in the process.
Although the Bankers were not losing, they drew more games than they actually won, and that is primarily the reason for their downfall.
Had they converted those draws into wins, they could easily have walked away with the league title.
This is perhaps something to consider when they begin to plan for next season and head into the transfer market.
Meanwhile, Wanderers’ Super League run may have been a breath air this season when considering their recent struggles, but when they look back at their season, they will know that the period between April to July is where they let the balk slip.
The 2017 league winners rejuvenated their form in the second round through Zicco Mkanda who was scoring for fun but it was too little too late as Bullets had already run away with the title.
Nonetheless, while Wanderers remained in the contest up until their 1-all draw away to Dwangwa United, Bullets’ quality shone throughout the season, and perhaps there was one notable difference in the Blantyre giants’ campaign, it was the form of one man, Chiukepo Msowoya.
The former Orlando Pirates and Escom United forward singlehandedly at times carried Bullets’ hopes bagging 16 goals with two games to play in the process.
The effect of Msowoya cannot be understated, but Bullets’ attackers in Nelson Kangunje, Patrick Phiri, Bright Munthali and Mike Mkwate also played a huge role. The players contributed more than 40 goals and this clear shows why they are TNM Super League champions.
Compare that to the 11 goals they have conceded and it is easy to figure out just why they walked away with the league title so convincingly, and why they have earned the respect for everyone within the Malawian football fraternity.