Nyasa Big Bullets registered a 1-0 win over Ntopwa FC in the pre-season match played at Kamuzu Stadium on Tuesday afternoon ahead of the 2020/21 soccer season.
Head Coach Kalisto Pasuwa handed starts to several players who had no game time in the previous season and his charges impressed as they played to instructions to keep their opponents at bay throughout the match.
Bullets started well through Bright Munthali, Patrick Phiri, Ernest Petro and Nelson Kangunje whilst Ben Manyozo was the last man in defence to cover Richard Chimbamba who was mining the goal posts.
Bullets’ first chance of the match fell to Munthali whose strike was deflected for a corner from which Kangunje failed to connect.
Moments later, MacPhallen Mgwira made his way into the box only to misplace his pass which was destined for Munthali who was ready to fire from the close range.
At the other end, Chimbamba was called into action to deny Arthur Moffar from scoring when he was left unmarked closer to the 18-yard box.
As the first half was nearly coming to an end, Ntopwa FC goalkeeper produced a fantastic save to deny Henry Kabichi from finding the back of the net from a freekick on the edge of the penalty box.
In the additional minutes, Sankhani Mkandawire was stretched out after sustaining an injury and he was replaced by Miracle Gabeya.
Two minutes after the recess, Bullets were awarded a penalty following a hand ball from which Zonda stepped up to send the goalkeeper wrong way, 1-0.
Ntopwa FC should have leveled the scoreline when Kabichi lost possession inside his own half to Moffat who was quick to spot Chimbamba off his line but his shot was well saved by the advanced keeper.
Bullets almost doubled their lead in the 57th minute when a cross from Zonda found Phiri whose header hit the upright for a corner.
Aziz Mwakifuna and Precious Phiri replaced Henry Kabichi and Gift Jana in the 62nd minute.
At the other end, Ntopwa FC had a goal disallowed when Moffat fouled Chimbamba right inside his penalty box.
Bullets then introduced Mike Mkwate, Dalitso Sailesi, Zicco Mkanda and Luke Chima for Petro, Kangunje, Munthali and Phiri.
Chima came close to scoring when his glancing header missed the goal mouth with an inch while Zonda’s shot was deflected out for a corner.
It was a nervous last minutes for both teams as they tried to unlock each other for goals but it was Bullets who held on for a win to their first victory in the first pre-season match.
Coach Pasuwa said he was very impressed with the performance of his players.
“We are still on pre-season. Last week, we were in Mangochi doing high intensity training session where we were training three times a day and when we returned home, we kept on training twice and sometimes thrice as well to try to build our team from the back to forward hence less attacking because we haven’t worked on attack.
“So far so good, it wasn’t bad but we have to work on few things in terms of intensity when we are playing so that we are able to knock off the ball as quickly as we can to attack our opposition.
On using Manyozo as a centre back, he said: “Morden football, defending midfielders can play as centre backs as well and you saw how he was able to start our moves at the back and that’s what we need so that we can attack without facing glitches so I was impressed with how he performed at the back,” he said.
The 2020/22 season kicks off next week with a Charity Shield match before the TNM Super League a week later.
Source: Nyasa Big Bullets