…as Chicken Inn win the tournament…
The deafening noise that greeted the final whistle, the singing of the Bullets fans, was not just to a victory to their team, but in tribute to a magnificent end-to-end action packed Blantyre derby on the final day of the Energem International Bonanza at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
Nyasa Big Bullets produced a brilliant performance against rivals Be Forward Wanderers to record a 4-3 victory in the three-day competition.
Bullets coach Kalisto Pasuwa made nine changes to the side that lost 1-0 to Chicken Inn on Saturday, maintaining Ben Manyozo and Nickson Nyasulu in the starting eleven while Wanderers made only few changes to the side that lost 2-0 to UD Songo on Saturday.
The Nomads were the first to find the opener inside the opening two minutes of the match when a cross from Stainley Sanudi found Vincent Nyangulu unmarked in the box to head past defenceless Rabson Chiyenda in goals for the hosts.
However, the Nomads’ celebrations were cut short just a minute later when Bright Munthali pulled level from Gomezgani Chirwa’s low drive cross into the box, beating William Thole who could have done nothing to prevent the ball from hitting the back of the net, 1-1.
Wanderers had a problem in defence to solve as they struggled to contain Bullets’ aggressive attack in Mike Mkwate, Ernest Petro and Munthali who were causing a lot of havoc at the back.
In the 18th minute, Bullets were in front courtesy of Mkwate.
A brilliant individual performance from Petro released Munthali to the left flank on the Northern goal posts and he wasted no time to feed Luke Chima’s whose attempt hit the woodwork only to land on the foot of Mkwate who just needed a simple tap in to give Bullets a deserving lead, 2-1.
The hosts were applying pressure to win corners and set pieces, then seemingly winning almost everything in the air ahead of Wanderers’ makeshift centre duo of Peter Cholopi and Lucky Malata.
The Nomads were denied a clear cut opportunity when Richard Rabson dribbled past Chirwa before sending a low cross drive into the box which was tumbled by Chiyenda only to be wasted by Nyangulu in an unbelievable circumstances.
With three minutes to play, Bullets increased their lead in a dramatic fashion.
Petro’s long range drive from outside the penalty box forced Thole to stumble before losing the ball into the back of the net, 3-1.
After the break, both teams made four changes, with Bullets introducing Peter Banda, Chimwemwe Idana, Hassan Kajoke and Chimango Kayira for Petro, Manyozo, Chima and Henry Kabichi while Wanderers brought in Ted Sumani, Lughano Kayira, Juma Yatina, Francis Mkonda for Malata, Mathews Sibale, Simeone Singa and Francis Mulimbika.
Wanderers started brightly and they almost reduced the arrears in the 48th minute when Rabson made his way into the box before finding Nyangulu who could only manage to send his effort wide off Chiyenda’s goal posts.
Bullets then made things very difficult for Wanderers in the 71st minute when Idana’s ball found Kajoke who was quick to volley past the advanced Thole into the back of the net, 4-1.
Thole was then replaced by Chipuwa moments later.
Wanderers responded very quickly through Cholopi who netted from a corner to reduce the arrears with less than 19 minutes to play on the clock.
This forced the two coaches to make changes as Pasuwa brought in Chiukepo Msowoya for Munthali while Babatunde Adepochu came in for Felix Zulu.
The two goal lead seemed to have unnerved Bullets who were now playing under massive pressure as Wanderers kept on pushing for goals.
The visitors were running rampant.
On 77th minute, Rabson was at it again when he dribbled past Chirwa before making a million dollar pass into the box to find Nyangulu on the edge of the Six-yard box, and the forward made no mistake by curling the ball past Chiyenda into the far post, 4-3.
Sensing danger, Pasuwa brought in Pilirani Zonda for Mkwate and this paid dividends as Wanderers pace was slowed down by the five defenders.
Bullets almost scored their fifth goal when Msowoya made his way into the edge of the box and forced Chipuwa into making a fantastic save for a corner.
Though the visitors tried their level best to at least level the scoreline, Bullets stood firm to claim a thrilling 4-3 victory over their bitter rivals who finished the tournament without registering any victory.
Earlier on, Chicken Inn claimed a 2-0 victory over UD Songo to take their tally to 9 points.
The victory saw the Zimbabwean side winning the tournament after winning all the games, while UD Songo finished third with three points.
The tournament was organised as part of the pre-season training for Bullets ahead of the 2020 season.