The 2019 TNM Super League commences on the 13th of April, two weeks after Eco Bank Charity Shield final which saw defending league champions beating rivals Be Forward Wanderers 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium on 31st March 2018.
A lot of sparks are expected in this edition which will see the return of Chitipa United to the elite league.
After a year in the second tier, ‘Savinda’ comes back with high hopes of surviving relegation at the end of the season.
It will be very interesting to see how the Chitipa side will use their past experience to regain their lost glory at the big stage.
The impact of the influx of foreign players in the Super League is another talking point this season, will they help raise the standard of our game or not?
Malawi’s fiercest derby ‘The Blantyre derby” between bitter rivals Bullets and Wanderers will be the biggest encounter, in the past five to six years, Bullets have had an upper hand over their neighbours but in the 2018 season, they could only afford to share two points each from the two encounters.
The Blantyre derby will bring more drama as the two rivals fight for the bragging rights and with Bullets signing Precious Sambani, who was very successful during his loan spell at Wanderers, it will be an interesting encounter.
Last season’s top three Bullets, Wanderers and Silver Strikers will be automatic favourites for the title this season. Bullets have invested heavily in their team by acquiring the services of Ben Manyozo, Sambani, Luke Chima, Peter Banda and Gomezgani Chirwa in a bid to reinforce the squad that only lost once in 30 top flight matches.
Rivals Wanderers look stronger this season, they have brought in Adepoye Babatunde, Vincent Nyangulu and Francis Mkonda from Masters Security, Hankey Machira and Peter Katsonga from Mighty Tigers and have promoted some promising young stars from their reserve side.
However, the 2017 league winners have lost quite a number of players who were very vital for the club for the past three seasons.
The Nomads have lost Joseph Kamwendo, Yamikani Chester, Peter Wadabwa and Sambani to other clubs hence the need for the new players to adapt in very quickly if they are to mount a serious challenge for the title.
The Central Bankers are also expected to put up a good fight for the 2019 season honours with their squad comprising the likes of international goal custodian Brighton Munthali, Levison Maganizo, Khuda Muyaba, Young Chimodzi Jnr, Duncan Nyoni and promising young stars Ronald Pangani, Travor Kalema and Hadji Wali.
The Area 47 giants, who finished last season trophyless, have also brought in Sherrif Shamama, Ernest Tambe and Charles Thom as they are geared up to challenge the top two for the championship.
Masters Security, TN Stars, Blue Eagles and Tigers FC will form the surprise package this season.
Masters Security had a fantastic 2018 season after finishing fourth and winning the Carlsberg Cup and they will be looking forward to continue from where they stopped last season.
After struggling and failing to be among the top eight last season, the four teams are expected to fight for the top four finish.
At Eagles, coach Deklerk Msakakuona is one of Malawi’s successful mentors and his experience at this level will be very vital for the Area 30 based side to return to winning ways.
Msakakuona has recruited Henry Misinjo and Yamikani Tambala whilst Vitumbiko Kumwenda and Gregory Nachipo have all extended their stay with the club.
Should Eagles come back with the momentum which saw them finish in the top six for the past three seasons, they will definitely be amongst teams to watch this season.
Tigers have were inconsistent last season due to the exodus which saw them lose more than 12 players to heavy weights Bullets and Wanderers.
With a senior coach in former Flames mentor Gerald Phiri Snr who is capable of discovering and developing rising stars, Tigers are likely to have a better 2019 season.
Unpredictable Masters Security, Mzuni FC, TN Stars and Karonga United will spoil the party for any team at any time as they fight to keep their places in the elite league.
Home ground advantage will be key for the rookies while Masters Security and Mzuni FC will be difficult teams to beat at any venue.
Remember, Karonga United will do everything possible to avoid relegation, TN Stars might be giant killers with their skillful and young squad, Dwangwa United will again be fighting to cement their stay in the super league.
This will create competition and bring shock results which will make the title race and the relegation battle very interesting.
The 2019 season is expected to be full of drama and excitement. The league will be highly competitive and the winner is most likely to be known in the last weeks of the season. There will be a fierce relegation battle which is likely to shock most teams. Be part of the fan by filing the stadia to the rafters and support your favourite team with passion. Be a fan, stay away from hooliganism and enjoy the talent.