Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers are facing each other in the TNM Super League on Sunday and fans of these famous two clubs will invade the Kamuzu Stadium to see for themselves which team will come out top.
Malawi24 analyzes the most important areas of the match for the two giants.
The two teams have had no established shot-stoppers since the beginning of the current campaign. Wanderers have used Richard Chipuwa in some of the games after he took over from Pilirani Mapira who was the first choice goalkeeper in the opening match of the season. But towards the end of the first round, Mapira retained his position and did very well, keeping several clean sheets. He is likely to be trusted again on Sunday.
As for The People’s Team, Richard Chimbamba might be the favorite to man the goalposts after he did well when he came in as a substitute for Rabson Chiyenda in the FDH Bank Cup match against Moyale Barracks. The shot-stopper, who won the golden glove last season and guided Bullets to their third straight Super League title in a row, has had several clean sheets to his name but he was frozen out towards the end of the first round as Kalisto Pasuwa opted for Clever Mkungula in goal. If we are to analyze the two teams in terms of goalkeeping department, then they have similar challenges; no established first choice goalkeepers for reasons known to themselves.
When it comes to defense, Bullets will have to be focused to perform better. The People’s Team have only kept one clean sheet in four games in all competitions. Bullets conceded against Sable Farming in their 3-1 win in the FDH Cup before coming from behind to draw 1-1 against Kamuzu Barracks a week later.
Bullets then travelled to the Northern Region where they also conceded in their 3-1 win over Rumphi United but kept a clean sheet in the 2-0 defeat of Ekwendeni Hammers days later.
Bullets’ weakness in defense was witnessed when they conceded four goals against Moyale Barracks in the FDH Cup Round of 16 before winning on penalties.
It was the first time for Pasuwa’s side to concede more than three goals in the domestic competitions since December 2020 when they came from behind to draw 3-3 with Red Lions.
As for Wanderers, they also have too many problems in defensive and even though they have kept some clean sheets, their center backs are not as solid and they might struggle against Bullets’ high pressing attackers in the name of Lanjesi Nkhoma, Babatunde Adepoju, Chimwemwe Idana and Patrick Mwaungulu. If the defense manages to build a wall in front of goal, then they would definitely have a chance of causing an upset against a side which is very dangerous when in attack.
In their previous match against Dedza Dynamos in the FDH Cup, Alex Ngwira played a 4-4-2 formation with Alfred Manyozo coming in as a defensive midfielder. Well, that won’t work against Bullets because they wouldn’t contain the midfield of their opponents and shield their defense against Bullets’ forwards.
Bullets would easily win the midfield battle if Idana is allowed to play in his preferred free role, something which is made possible with the availability of Ernest Petro in the middle of the pack. But to minimize Bullets’ pressing football, then Wanderers should deploy Felix Zulu to boss the midfield so that he closes down Idana and Henry Kabichi or Blessings Mpokera so that there should be no supply of balls to the skilled Nkhoma and Babatunde who has improved a lot under Pasuwa.
The one who will control the midfield will have an upper hand in this grudge match.
This is where the match will be won. Bullets’ forwards are in top form and they will be hard to stop. They scored four goals in their last match, they once scored five goals against Mighty Tigers, they also scored three against Rumphi United. In total, Bullets’ forwards have scored more than 20 goals this season in all the competitions and if left unattended, Wanderers should brace themselves for a dark day as the combination of Babatunde, Nkhoma, Mwaungulu and Idana can score goals from all angles.
Wanderers defense is not good enough to deal with Bullets attackers. Gabeya and Kolawole or Peter Cholopi might struggle against Babatunde who would then release Nkhoma and Mwaungulu in the attacking zone.
Stainley Sanudi can cope against the two left and right attackers but this might see them fleeing Babatunde who, on a good day, can score goals for fun.
For Wanderers, Muhammad Sulumba and Vincent Nyangulu will be a thorn in the flesh to Bullets’ defenders. What we saw during Bullets’ last Cup game at Kamuzu Stadium is exactly what these attacking duo are good at; capitalizing on dead ball situations especially if the ball is played behind the defenders. Hadji Wali and John Lanjesi were completely outsmarted by Lloyd Njaliwa and Gasten Simkonda but the coming in of Kesten Simbi and Nickson Nyasulu can be a relief to the log leaders who dearly missed their services on Sunday.
To contain Sulumba and Nyangulu, Bullets should do whatever it takes to avoid conceding freekicks in their defensive zone and stopping Sanudi from making runs which would result into sending dangerous crosses into the box. It’s a match in which either side will score by capitalizing on one’s defensive relapses in the line of duty.