Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves have won the Aubrey Dimba Trophy after hammering Silver Strikers Reserves 2-4 at the Aubrey Dimba Ground in Mchinji on Sunday afternoon.
As was expected with the front three that Enos Chatama trusted on the afternoon, Chikumbutso Salima, Patrick Mwaungulu and Emmanuel Savieli played a vital role on the day as they tormented their opponents throughout the match.
Just two minutes into the game, Mwaungulu broke the deadlock with a simple finish following a brilliant work from Salima, who had to dribble past Sandress Gondwe, Dan Mponya and Blessings Chandiyang’ana before setting up his partner.
However, the lead was cut short by the junior Bankers, who leveled the score line through Levison Gopani after the Bullets defence failed to put pressure on the ball, allowing Yasin Chida to cross into the area – Clever Mkungula failed to stop it and allowed Gopani to get the hosts level, 1-1.
Chatama’s side almost restored their lead in the 19th minute when Franklin Mlimanjira was set through by Savieli only to see his shot well saved by Charles Chisale in goals for Silver Reserves.
Bullets were left to regret for the missed chances when Madalitso Maso headed past Mkungula from a freekick to give the Area 47 side a lead.
Bullets Reserves regrouped and attacked from all cylinders and they nearly equalized in the 32nd minute through Salima whose low shot came off the woodwork inside the six-yard box.
However, Chatama’s boys were able to level the score line in the 33rd minute through Salima, who received a brilliant pass from Savieli before slotting the ball past defenseless Chisale into the net, 2-2.
As Bullets Reserves’ midfield kept on playing in isolation, Chatama made his first change in the 43rd minute when he brought on Frank Willard for Mlimanjira, who was struggling to handle Godfrey Maluwa and Thathedwa Willard.
Mkungula was again caught napping in the line of duty when he failed to clear Chida’s cross before being rescued by Yamikani Mologeni, who made a brilliant tackle to deny Gopani from finding his second goal of the day and that was all for the half.
In the second half, Bullets Reserves unleashed anger on Leo Mpulula’s side through the usual suspects, Mwaungulu, Savieli and Salima, who were attacking from all angles in search for another goal.
Salima doubled his tally in the 51st minute when he headed home from close range after he was set through by Mwaungulu, 2-3.
It could have been worse for the Silver Reserves, who were now showing signs of fatigue as they were failing to tame Bullets Reserves’ pace orchestrated by Salima and Mwaungulu.
In the 58th minute, the duo combined well to release Savieli in a one-on-one situation, but the forward failed to beat Chisale, who produced a fantastic save to the disappointment of Chatama’s led technical panel.
It was now Bullets Reserves versus Chisale who was the busiest of the two goalkeepers, a situation that forced Leo Mpulura to introduce Moses Nyirenda and Mark Kwalira for Gondwe and Chida.
In the 67th minute, Chisale once again saved the hosts when he produced another brilliant save to deny Mwaungulu’s powerful drive inside the 18-yard box.
However, Mwaungulu could not be denied in the 73rd minute when his volley went into the net after he was set through by Salima to make it 2-4 in favor of the visitors.
Moments later, the duo combined again and released Savieli to the left flank and the forward was quick to make his way into the penalty box, but failed to beat Chisale in another one-v-one situation.
Mpulura made another change when he brought on Rodrick Sambani and Fatsani Chiusiwa for Willard and Gopani.
Sambani nearly surprised Mkungula when his long-range effort missed the upright with an inch.
With less than 10 minutes to play, Lyton Chinong’one and Mwaungulu exchanged passes to find Salima who made a very quick decision to try his luck only to see his shot swerving wide off Chisale’s goal post.
Towards the end of the match, the Area 47 side pushed harder to try and narrow the scores, but Kesten Simbi’s led defence stood firm to frustrate Mpulura’s side and it ended 2-4 in favor of Bullets Reserves, who have now won their fourth title in a single football calendar.
Speaking after the match, Chatama said it was not a difficult encounter only that his boys missed a lot of chances that made them to play under pressure.
“They [Silver Reserves] were not tough as the previous teams we have been playing with [in the competition], but my players didn’t play according to instructions in the first half and we ended up making school boy errors by conceding silly goals.
“But that said, we scored four and won the match although the score line is not a true reflection of the match as we could have scored eight to nine goals, but all in all I am very grateful to God for a wonderful season in which we have won four trophies,” expressed Chatama, who was named Coach of the Tournament.
Mwaungulu, who was voted Man of the Match on the afternoon, was named Player of the Tournament, while Mkungula was named Goalkeeper of the Tournament, with Salima winning the Golden Boot after scoring three goals.
To reach this level, Bullets Reserves beat St. Gabriel’s Medicals 2-1 before overcoming Extreme FC 1-0 in the quarterfinals.
In the semis, Chatama’s side defeated Kamuzu Barracks Youth 2-1.