FCB Nyasa Big Bullets coach Kalisto Pasuwa says that reaching the second preliminary stages of the CAF Champions League for the first time since 2015 is a motivation factor for his charges to face TP Mazembe without fear.
The Malawi champions will square off against the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) giants in the first round of the two-legged affair at Bingu National Stadium on Sunday afternoon for a place in the group stages of the African biggest club completion.
Whilst admitting that his team is facing a team with a rich history in the continental club competition, the tactician believes that his players will be highly motivated to give the Congolese giants a tough run for their money.
“It’s a plus sign to the club and players to advance to the next round where each and every player, when playing football, needs to improve in whatever he does. We are playing TP Mazembe in Champions League, an experienced side and former Champions League winners, a very experienced side, and we hope for the best when we meet them tomorrow. We have been talking to the boys, trying to psych them up in order for them to get into the groove and I am very sure that they are highly motivated to do the job for us and give Mazembe a tough run for their money.
He added: “It’s a motivating factor to them, and we have been talking to them to say maybe this must not be the end of it. We need to fight in order for us to go to the next round as you saw yourself when we were playing at home and away against Dragon FC. We played them away, and we played very well, but when we came here, we struggled, so it’s how we will approach the games when we are playing in these international matches.
“In football, we field eleven players each in the field of play. For one to rise up, in terms of duels, you say I am playing versus him, how I am going to fare, that’s one thing to our boys. They can make history by playing very well. If they do well, people around will start asking questions about the team that advanced against one of the best teams in Africa.
On whether starting at home before traveling to Lumumbashi for the second leg is an advantage to The People’s Team, the gaffer said it will all depend on the mindset of his players, reminding them that starting at home does not guarantee a straight win in such a biggest completion.
“As I said, it’s the mind aspect of it where everyone in the house will say we are winning because we are playing at home and that is what we have been trying to work out to each and every one around, starting with the supporters, management, the players and the coaches to say when you are playing at home is not an obvious thing that we are going to win, but we need to put everything in place in order for us to win a game hence the reason why I talked about the mentality aspect of it and how we approach the game that is coming,” he said.
On what will it take for Bullets to beat such an experienced side, the tactician said there is a need to face them with caution.
“Again, I would come to the fact of saying we are playing a very experienced side, we can’t throw up everything to them because the moment we leave more spaces or even try to go, push too much, will end up confusing everything so we need to be very tactical in order for us to approach this game in a better way.
“During my time as a player, I have been seeing them very well in terms of approach and tactical awareness in them. Very big in stature, or even when they are attacking, free kicks, corners, they are very good at attacking using set pieces and this makes them a team where they can punish you through corner kicks. So we need to be quite aware of all these areas,” he continued.
He then asked Malawians to come out in large numbers to support the team that is representing the nation in the continental showpiece.
“Us, as technical panel and players, we try our best in order to please our supporters and everyone around, maybe in Malawi to do good. It’s very unfortunate sometimes where results may not come as you wished, but our main effort of it is to win, so we urge everyone to come to Bingu and support us, “he concluded.