Bullets: have won the league
It was a campaign marked by twists and turns up until the final two weeks of the 2020/21 Super League in which Nyasa Big Bullets have successfully won their third title in a row following Be Forward Wanderers’ 3-1 defeat at home to Blue Eagles on Sunday afternoon.
It was once again a desperately disappointing day for Bob Mpinganjira, who was hoping to snatch the title away from Bullets after his side won the much touted Blantyre derby last week.
It was also a very good day for Eagles head coach Gerald Phiri Snr who survived the chop following the emphatic victory.
Before the match, it was a must win game for the two teams. Wanderers needed all the three points to remain in contention for the title going into the final week of the league whilst the Area 30 based side needed all the points in order to run away from relegation.
But it was Eagles who meant business as Gilbert Chirwa scored a stunning goal in the 13th minute following a defensive relapse from the hosts, 0-1.
But the lead only lasted for one minute as Wanderers equalized through Vincent Nyangulu who capitalized on the visitors’ defence which was caught napping in the line of duty, allowing the striker to shoot at goal and into the net, 1-1.
The visitors restored their lead in a brilliant fashion.
Chirwa made a good turn inside the 18-yard box before releasing a powerful shot to the top corner which was just too hot for Chipuwa to handle, 1-2.
Two become three. This time around it was Chifuniro Mpinganjira, not related to Wanderers’ two coaches.
Yunus Sherrif gave away the ball too cheaply to the striker who moved three steps ahead before a rocket shot into the net, 1-3.
Wanderers should have settled their nerves as Nyangulu whipped in a fine low cross from the right but Wisdom Mpinganjira missed the ball, and Peter Wadabwa flinched, the ball skidding right across the area and out of danger.
Gadie Chirwa was a constant thorn in Wanderers’ side through his dangerous crosses into the box and his pace which caused havoc in the hosts’ back line.
Gadie then had a near-post effort well saved by Richard Chipuwa and the Flames international made an even better stop in the 42nd minute, pushing away a rasping long-range rocket from Paul Master.
In the second half, too many stoppages halted the game, with the referee frequently blowing his whistle as tempers crossed the line between the two teams.
Instead of attacking their opponents to reduce the arrears, it was the visitors who pressed for more goals and this brought more fear to Mpinganjira’s led technical panel to make three changes which saw Francis Mulimbika, Vitumbiko Kumwenda and Wisdom paving the way for Misheck Botomani, Francisco Mkonda and Ted Sumani.
Wanderers created three clear cut chances through the newly introduced forward but John Soko was equal to the task as he rescued the cops from the angry Nomads.
In the 68th minute, Juma Yatina replaced Wadabwa but it was Gadie who nearly scored Eagles’s fourth goal when he was found unmarked in the penalty box but his weaker shot was well saved by Chipuwa.
The visitors brought in John Malidadi Jnr for Mpingajira and this substitution brought more energy to Phiri Snr’ side as Wanderers failed to contain him due to his ability to hold on to the ball in the attacking zone.
Malidadi Jnr had his long range shot effort well saved by Chipuwa for a corner.
At the other end, Botomani shot over the cross bar when passing Yatina was the only option in the 18-yard box.
Wanderers tried to push hard for goals but Eagles’ defence led by Jacob Robert stood firm to register one of their important victories in the ongoing season.
As for the Nomads, the defeat sealed their fate by going the entire season without winning anything, a repeat of what happened to them in 2019 season when they surrendered the league to Bullets despite taking an eleven-point lead over the champions elect.
It is another season to remember for Bullets who lost to Wanderers in the derby and invited pressure from Silver Strikers and the Nomads but they did everything right on Saturday afternoon to beat Kamuzu Barracks 3-0 at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.
It will be Bullets’ 15th league title.