It’s an all-Southern African affair as Malawi’s Nyasa Big Bullets host Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum in the first leg of CAF Champions League preliminary round encounter on Saturday afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium.
Both teams are champions of their respective countries but this titanic battle is different from any domestic competition as only the strong survives.
In the 2018/19 season, Bullets were ousted from Africa’s biggest tournament in the very first stage by Gor Mahia through post-match penalties in a match where forward Chiukepo Msowoya missed a penalty in the regulation time.
However, Bullets head coach Calisto Pasuwa, who is also a Zimbabwean, says his charges are ready for the battle against one of Southern Africa’s finest club.
“We are not under pressure though it’s always tricky to start at home because it means that you need to be at your level best to claim a result but whatever the case, we are ready for them.
“We have every player on board except for John Lanes, MacPhallen Ngwira and Righteous Banda who are nursing injuries but if you look at the player’s attitude, I am very confident that by the end of the day, we will come out top,” he told the local media on Thursday.
The longest run for Bullets in the competition was in 2014 when they reached the group stages before being knocked out by Enyimba FC and in 2015, they reached the second round of the preliminary stage only to bow out after a defeat to Al Hilal of Sudan.
On the other hand, FC Platinum are no minnows when it comes to international games.
The Zimbabweans managed to beat Orlando Pirates and TP Mazembe in the same competition.
They are currently leading in the Zimbabwe Premier Soccer League.
Despite training late at the match venue, the visitors have got what it takes to upset the hosts who are a little bit nervous about the match.
Platinum have brought a strong squad with some new signings for the campaign.
They beefed up the squad with Tawana Chikore, Evidence Tendayi, Guyve Mawete Nsilia, Panashe Mutimbanyoka, Keith Madera and Kelvin Mangiza.
Mozambican referee Celso Armindo Alvacao will officiate the match.
The return leg is set for Barbourfields Stadium the weekend of August 23-25.
The winner of the two-legged qualifier will play either Simba FC of Tanzania or Uniao Desportiva do Songo of Mozambique in the next stage.