They have done it again- a barren draw. It is not the first time and definitely won’t be the last time we see this kind of result. The Blantyre derby between Be Forward Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets has become predictable.
Without goals, the Blantyre derby has become like tea without sugar. It is good on the eye, but lacks the magic touch that makes all the difference- goals.
So, Saturday’s derby at Kamuzu Stadium failed to live up to expectations, with both sides struggling to produce the best out of the players.
This was nothing new and this is the type of result that many Malawians expected when the two clubs meet as they seem to have forgotten how to beat each other.
Despite coming to the game as clear favorites, Bullets did not reproduce their first round performance as they were made to sweat for a point.
Contrary to what many Wanderers supporters expected, Oscar Kaunda’s led technical panel made almost three changes to the side that collected four points in Mzuzu last week, with William Thole, Dennis Chembezi and Ted Sumani all being included in the first eleven.
Bullets created their first goal scoring opportunity when Peter Banda dribbled past Stainley Sanudi only to see his low cross drive missed by the ineffective Chiukepo Msowoya.
Moments later, a long range drive from Chimwemwe Idana forced Thole into making a fine save and it was very clear that the Nomads were under siege as Bullets kept on coming wave after wave.
As Thole was being kept busy, Rabson Chiyenda was at ease, as the defense of Charles Petro, Nickson Nyasulu, Gomezgani Chirwa and Precious Sambani kept him safe from the jaws of Zicco Mkanda and Babatunde Adepoju who registered no shot at goal in the half.
As the clock was fast ticking, Thole was at it again, this time, producing another fantastic save to deny Mike Mkwate from scoring.
It must be noted that the Nomads had not beaten Bullets for the past seven seasons and from their first half performance, their hopes of finally getting the better of their bitter rivals was a farfetched dream.
In the second half, Wanderers started positively as they bossed the midfield through Alfred Manyozo Jnr and Francisco Madinga and were definitely the better side in the half.
The best chance fell to Madinga who blasted his effort over the cross bar.
Moments later, Wanderers saw Felix Zulu’s effort being cleared by Chirwa, leaving all Nomads fans in total disbelief.
Wanderers were coming wave after wave, this time around, Isaac Kaliyati’s thunderbolt missed the upright with an inch.
Sensing danger, Bullets coach Calisto Pasuwa made a double substitution, bringing on board Patrick Phiri and MacPhallen Ngwira for Msowoya and Mkwate.
At the other end, Chirwa’s cross from the right flank of the field almost caught Thole napping, but the former Mighty Tigers shot-stopper was quick to make a decision as he parried the ball away for a corner.
After realizing that their midfield was too rigid to unlock Wanderers’ defense, the defending champions were restricted to shooting from range, which hardly troubled the hosts who were winning every battle in the middle of the park.
Mike Kaziputa and Simeon Singa came in for Mkanda and Madinga as the Nomads tried to push for the much needed goal.
Wanderers kept on dominating possession but failed to make it count, with Petro and Nyasulu defending in numbers, as the visitors were content to let Wanderers enjoy the majority of the possession and looked to play on the counter-attack.
Despite all the dominance, Bullets stood firm to salvage a point as the gap between the two sides remained at three points but the visitors have a game in hand and victory will see them leapfrogging the current log leaders.
In another league encounter, Civil Sporting Club continued their fine form with a 2-0 victory over Kamuzu Barracks at Civo Stadium.
Nickson Mwase and Innocent Tanganyika were on target as the Civil Servants leapfrogged Silver Strikers into the third fifth position with 34 points from 21 games while the Soldiers are still third with 39 points from 23 games.