FCB Nyasa Big Bullets head coach Kalisto Pasuwa has attributed the injury crisis that has hit his squad to congested fixtures and frequent traveling.
Speaking to the media ahead of his team’s return leg match against Dragon FC in the preliminary round of the CAF Champions League at Bingu National Stadium on Sunday, the Bullets mentor urged football officials to think about players before coming up with their fixtures.
He was reacting to the latest injury setback suffered by left-back Eric Kaonga during the final training session on Saturday morning, taking the total injury list to six.
“It’s frustrating for us to be losing players week in, week out. We lost Eric Kaonga, and he is definitely out for tomorrow’s game. This is because of how we have been traveling and the number of games that we are playing.
“We are representing Malawi and these officials. Before coming up with these fixtures, they should also consider us. We traveled all the way from Equatorial Guinea where the arrangements were not smooth, I didn’t play but I am still tired and I need to recover but where will I get the space when after this game, we are traveling back to Blantyre for a league match on Wednesday.
“As a result, we are losing more players to injuries. We need to balance. We had a big squad that we registered, but we have lost it through injuries.
Remember, we play more games than any other team in Malawi. Any match that is played in Malawi, we are invited. As of now, we are in all the competitions, and we still have more games to play, and this is too much now. The players need to recover,” he said.
On the match, Pasuwa once again warned his charges to avoid complacency at all cost, telling them, “If we scored two at their base, they can also score two at our venue.”
“Complacency is very dangerous. You can even see how this has crippled everyone in the house. Football is all about 90 minutes. We went to Equatorial Guinea and scored in the 7th minute. They can come here and do the same thing again so we need to do everything with a positive mind.”
“It’s not a bad side, and they have stature where they can punish us through set pieces and then game on. So, I am warning my players to put everything in place and attack with intent because if we have nine men behind the ball, these guys are dangerous. They can capitalize and punish us.
“The first leg result is over. We should now focus on winning at home so that we make it easy for us to progress to the next round,” he said.
Pasuwa also revealed that he will be very cautious when approaching the opposition on Sunday.
“Very cautious game where we also need to be keeping possession away from the opposition because in football, the more you keep possession, the more you are advantaged to win the game. We need to be very careful in transitions, from attack to defense and defense to attack, and also, we need to balance the numbers and then we see how best we can go in the first opening minutes of the game,” he explained.
He added: “Like I said, keeping the ball from these guys will be very important for us. We are at home, we need ball management, we need to be very comfortable with the ball, we need to have numbers every time we press them.”
A win will see Bullets progressing to the second round for the first time since 2015, and they will face DRC’s TP Mazembe where the winner will qualify for the group stages of Africa’s biggest club competition.