Blantyre derby ends in dull draw


After all the hype, today’s Blantyre Derby was one of the most disappointing in years.

Neither Mighty Mukuru Wanderers nor FCB Nyasa Big Bullets deserved to win, and it was no surprise that neither side scored in the TNM Super League match played at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday afternoon. A 0-0 draw reflects a dull 90 minutes, especially from Bullets who were playing worse than their opponents.

The losers were the 14,000 plus fans in the capacity crowd who were not given their money’s worth by two ultra conservative set of players and coaches.

The match lacked urgency and that special magic usually associated with a derby.

Had this been a boxing match, Wanderers would have won on points as they looked slightly the better side and at least tried to attack the ultra-defensive Bullets who waited until the second half to register a shot at goal.

Even at this early stage, neither side looked like a title contender, with no zeal to get something out of this overhyped match.

The first half was a dull affair with Bullets coach Kalisto Pasuwa opting for a conservative approach by moving Precious Sambani, a natural left back, into the midfield position.

Bullets could not manage to pass the ball properly. Too many passes went astray, and a bunch of schoolboys could have done better on the day. Good players learnt to make the most of a bad situation and sadly there were not too many good players on either side who put up their hands and tried to take the game by the scruff of the neck.

Wanderers created the first chance in the 21st minute when Bullets keeper Clever Mkungula did well to fist a Lawrence Chaziya powerful header over his crossbar and from the resulting corner, Isaac Kaliyati blasted wide from the close range.

Mkungulu easily stopped another Chaziya effort from a corner kick in the 26th minute and in the 28th minute, he dropped Stanley Sanudi’s cross but his defenders managed to clear the loose ball and boot it out of danger.

Bullets’ only shot in anger in a disappointing first half came from John Lanjesi, who fired wide from the rebound following a set piece from Patrick Mwaungulu.

With a minute to go before the recess, Vincent Nyangulu thought he had given his side a lead when his powerful header came off the woodwork from Sanudi’s well taken free-kick and that was all for the half.

In the second half, Anthony Mfune, who, together with Chawanangwa Gumbo came in for Lanjesi and Hassan Kajoke, could have scored with his first touch in the 47th minute when his shot, Bullets’ only shot at goal, was well saved by William Thole for a cornerkick which almost gave The People’s Team a lead but Precious Sambani’ powerful header from the set piece missed the crossbar with an inch.

This was the only period where Bullets tried to make a game of it and take on Wanderers’ defense.

Wanderers’ best opportunity came in the 63rd minute when Blessings Mpokera was penalized for fouling Wisdom Mpinganjira and from the resultant freekick, Mkungula did well to deny the Nomads from taking a lead when he blocked Kaliyati from taking a fast kick against the run of play.

Precious Phiri came in for Lanjesi Nkhoma in the 64th minute, whilst Christopher Kumwembe replaced Nyangulu in the 67th minute to try to improve the attacking prowess.

There was a commotion inside Bullets’ half in the 68th minute when Isaac Kaliyati delivered an excellent cross into the box but Kumwembe was late to arrive on the scene, allowing Alick Lungu to make a timely clearance for a throw in.

At the other end, Mwaungulu should have done better in the 74th minute when he had the opportunity to create something for his team from a set piece which he easily gave away to the hosts who were more organized in every department.

Mpinganjira was again the architect of Wanderers’ breakaway move in the 76th minute. The full-back scampered away on the right before crossing to Kumwembe, who in turn set up Zulu.

But the midfielder dithered on the ball, and when he finally picked his spot, he could only come his effort, forcing a break and butter block from Okumu.

Lungu gave away a freekick just outside the box, and Sanudi picked out Misheck Botomani in the box with an imaginative set piece routine, but the winger fired over the crossbar for a goalkick.

With six minutes left to play, Pasuwa brought in Righteous Banda for Mwaungulu whilst Vitumbiko Kumwenda replaced Mkonda for the Nomads.

But both teams looked content to run the clock down in the final 10 minutes and settle for a share of the points.

The result sees Bullets staying in second position with 22 points, three points behind Silver Strikers who were also held to a goalless draw at home by Chitipa United.

The Nomads are third with 19 points. All the top three teams have played eleven games each.

These were the final matches before the Cosafa Cup break, which will see the league taking a break until the tournament in South Africa is over.