FISD Cup quarter-final preview: Silver Strikers host Nyasa Big Bullets

…Blue Eagles entertain Moyale Barracks, Savenda Chitipa United welcome Kamuzu Barracks…

Bullets and Nomads in an earlier game

The 2019 FISD Challenge Cup returned to the domestic agenda on Friday where defending champions Be Forward Wanderers were eliminated in the quarter-finals by rookies Hangover United at Kamuzu Stadium.

Three more matches will be played over the weekend, two of them in the Capital City but the pick of the day will see Silver Strikers playing host to Nyasa Big Bullets at the Bingu National Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

In other quarter-final matches, Savenda Chitipa United will welcome 2017 winners Kamuzu Barracks while Moyale Barracks will travel to Civo Stadium to play Blue Eagles.

The Central Bankers have never lost to Bullets in this competition, with the Area 47 based side knocking out the people’s team in 2016 courtesy of a powerful header from Blessings Tembo at Kamuzu Stadium.

Two years later, Silver Strikers were on top of their game again when they recorded a 2-0 victory over Bullets to advance to the last four of the competition.

Earlier this week, the Bankers coach Abbas Makawa admitted that his side’ chances of winning the league are almost over and he will now turn attention to winning the FISD Cup, a year after losing 3-2 to Wanderers in the 2018 final.

“We have to focus on winning FISD Challenge Cup considering the fact that our chances of winning the league are slowly fading so we will give it all in this competition so that we finish the season on a very high note,” he told the local media.

However, he is facing a very difficult side to beat. Bullets ran out 3-1 winners at Kamuzu Stadium in the TNM Super League match in August this year and any mistake from his men might see them crushing out of the competition.

Makawa will rely heavily on striker Khuda Muyaba who has 15 league goals to his name so far.

On the other part, Bullets have a score to settle against their opponents in this competition. Since its inception in 2016, it’s only Wanderers and Kamuzu Barracks who have won the cup but the people’s team are yet to taste the goodness of winning one of the biggest club competition in Malawi.

On Thursday, Bullets coach Calisto Pasuwa told the local media that his men needs to be at their level bets if they are to progress to the next round because they are facing a very organized team.

“It’s a different game altogether and we have to be at our level best if we are to progress to the semifinals of the competition because we are facing a very organized team. We have been creating lots of goal scoring opportunities but we fail to convert the chances and the unfortunate part is that our opponents are able to score from a single chance they create so it’s something which we have been working on,” he explained.

The Bullets mentor stressed out the need to fix his defense, saying conceding week in, week out has not been part of his tactical plan but he is hoping to sort out his defensive problem.

“We are conceding goals at an alarming rate and this must stop if we are to do well in all the competitions. It’s something which we have been working on and I am very positive that a solution will be found very soon so that we are able to defend and win games without conceding goals in every match we play,” he added.

Bullets will have to do without five key players namely John Lanjesi, Precious Sambani, Bright Munthali, MacPhallen Mgwira and Pilirani Zonda but Captain Chimango Kayira is likely to return to the starting eleven after missing out in their 3-2 league win over Mzuni FC.

At Civo Stadium, in-form Blue Eagles will welcome Moyale Barracks while Savenda Chitipa United will entertain Kamuzu Barracks.

This year’s winner will walk away with a trophy and a K20 million in prize money.