Hamid Msopa the hero as Ndirande Stars win inaugural MMM Under 20 Cup


Ndirande Stars are the winners of the inaugural Manchester Motor Mechanical Center Under 20 Cup after beating Nyasa Big Bullets Youth 4-3 on penalties following a 1-1 draw in the regulation time at Kamuzu Stadium on Monday afternoon.

It only took two minutes for the hosts to find the back of the net through Kondwani Kucheza following a communication breakdown from Bullets defense.

The Bullets Youth team was under pressure and failed to withstand the heat from Justice Zulu, Yamikani Namondwe and Kucheza but the attacking trio lacked finishing composure as they twice missed clear cut chances inside the first 15 minutes of the match.

Bullets had their first chance at goal in the 18th minute when goalkeeper Hamid Msopa failed to clear a long ball from Gift Jossam and landed to Blessings Mofolo who produced a powerful header only to see the ball going wide off the hosts’ goal posts.

Moments later, Jossam, had his long range effort going over the crossbar as Autley Kalulu’s boys pressed for the equalizer.

But the hosts almost doubled their lead in the 38th minute through Zulu who had his eyes on goal before a thunderous shot which was well saved by Danken Kumimba.

In the second half, Kalulu made a triple substitution when he brought in Kumbukani Manto, Innongano Kamanga and Matamando Matchipisa for Jali Daudi, Blessings Mofolo and Daniel Nyambose to try to improve his attacking options in search of the equalizer but Moses Gunde’s led defence was just too difficult to open up for the visitors.

But the moment that the youngsters from Bullets were waiting for arrived in the 61st minute when Matchipisa scored a beauty after he received a pass from Happy Nkhoma to make it 1-1.

This goal was a wakeup call to the hosts who then decided to make a double change in Evalisto Wadabwa and Cosmas Kulapani for Kucheza and Mtalimanja.

In the 67th minute, Chifundo Mbofana came in for Hellings Mhango who was not having a good day.

With less than seven minutes to play, Ndirande Stars had a very good opportunity to restore their lead and possibly finish off the game in regulation time when Yamikani Namondwe used his pace to outsmart Nabil Kazembe before shooting the ball at goal but Kumimba was equal to the task with a very brilliant save which kept the visitors into the game.

This save proved to be very important as Bullets launched a stunning counter-hurricane attack through Aubrey Massford who delivered a million-dollar pass into the box to Jossam but the midfielder saw his shot skyrocketing into the sky in an unbelievable circumstances and he was left to regret that chance as the game was decided on penalties from which Bullets Youth missed two spot kicks to lose 4-3.

Matamando Matchipisa, Hadji James and Jossam all converted their penalties for Bullets Youth but Mphepo and Manto saw their penalties saved by Msopa.

Ndirande Stars converted their penalties through Thoko Mpinde, Richard Luciano, Zulu and Cosmas Kulapani.

The champions walked away with MK500 000 and a trophy.