Bullets cash in, retain FDH Bank Cup trophy

Nyasa Big Bullets have beaten Mafco in the final of the FDH Cup in a game played in Lilongwe at Bingu National Stadium

Two goal hero, Lanjesi Nkhoma, led FCB Nyasa Big Bullets to a stunning and well-deserved 3-0 rout of Mafco FC in a one sided FDH Bank Cup final played at Bingu National Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The other goal came from Ephraim Kondowe as Bullets showed no mercy to the Salima based soldiers who were playing in a cup final for the first time in a decade.
The visitors suffered from nerves and stage fright and were never in this contest. They were outplayed in every department much more convincingly than their 4-0 defeat they suffered at the hands of Bullets earlier this year in a league match.

The People’s Team took a firm grip on the match from the opening whistle and never let go. They were simply in a class of their own playing as a team against a side that played like they were not ready for such a big moment.

The free-scoring side, which scored the highest number of goals in the current edition, made several changes to the side that defeated Bangwe All Stars on Wednesday, with the likes of Yamikani Fodya, Frank Willard, Lanjesi Nkhoma, Stanley Billiat and Ephraim Kondowe all included in the starting line-up for Nickson Nyasulu, Ernest Petro, Anthony Mfune, Righteous Banda.

Their opponents were missing the services of the leading scorer in the tournament Zikani Sichinga, who was injured, and Duncan Mwase due to his suspension, but Prichard Mwansa welcomed back Yohane Malunga and, Mphatso Phillimon from suspensions.

The victory saw Kalisto Pasuwa’s side becoming the first team to win this most prestigious club competition for the second consecutive year running.

The People’s Team also maintained their highest scoring record of 16 goals in a single calendar after they netted the same number of goals in the previous edition.

The visitors, who last played in a Cup final in 2013, had the toughest mission on the day to stop the defending champions who, before the encounter, were unbeaten in 23 matches across all the domestic competitions since their 1-0 defeat away to Chitipa United earlier this year.

From the onset, it was evident that Pasuwa, despite making those changes, went for the kill as he used a very offensive formation by deploying Patrick Mwaungulu in the central attacking role to cause havoc and create spaces for the front three.

Mwansa’s charges were dealt with a massive blow when Walusungu Mpata was stretched off after he collided with Chimbamba in an earial combat, and he was replaced by David Daudi.

It only took 6 minutes for Nkhoma to score his first goal of the tournament with a simple tap-in inside the six-yard box after receiving a million dollar pass from Billiat, 1-0.

The hosts were relentless as they kept pushing for another goal in order to completely put the game beyond the visitors’ reach and they succeeded in the 12th minute when Nkhoma doubled his tally with another easy finish from a Mwaungulu’s excellent pass when Mafco’ defense was caught napping in the line of duty, 2-0.

The first 15 minutes belonged to Bullets as they kept on exchanging passes and created more goal scoring opportunities, the latest being Kondowe who got the better of Paul Ndhlovu before releasing a thunderous shot that was well saved by Christopher Mikuwa.

The first shot at the goal from the visitors came in the 17th minute through Kingsley Nkhonjera, whose rocket was well saved by Rabson Chiyenda, who was called into action for the first time in the match.

At the other end of the field, Precious Phiri produced a magic moment when he outclassed Aubrey Chawewa before sending a very dangerous cross to Mwaungulu who was very unfortunate to miss from the close range when Mikuwa was already beaten in the line of duty.

The enterprising Mwaungulu was a thorn in the fresh to the visitors’ back-four as he made yet another dangerous move towards the goal, but his shot missed Mikuwa’ right-hand post with some few inches.

The Salima based side was handed a relief in the 40th minute when Chiyenda handed a back-pass from Clyde Senaji to concede an indirect freekick inside the penalty box. But Nkhonjera fired wide to the frustration of Mwansa’s led technical panel, which would have hoped for something better in order to reduce the arrears.
The missing opportunity nearly punished Mafco further as Mwaungulu’s freekick found the advanced Kondowe inside the box, but his powerful header was well saved by Mikuwa, who was the busiest of the two shot-stoppers
With three minutes left to play, Paul Phiri headed over the crossbar when he was found unmarked by a Nkhonjera’ cross from the left flank of the field, and that was all for the half.
After the recess, Pasuwa brought in Hassan Kajoke and Blessings Mpokera for Nkhoma and Billiat to try to balance between the midfield and the attack as he was certain that Mafco would come very hard in search of atleast a goal in the opening minutes to keep their hopes of making a comeback alive.

The People’s Team increased their lead with yet another simple finish inside the box.
The move started in the midfield against through Willard, Gumbo to Kajoke in the offensive zone before sending a throughball to Mwaungulu who made his way into the box before finding Kondowe right on the edge of the six-yard box.

From there, it was Bullets passing the ball at will, and at a certain point of time, more than twenty passes were exchanged between the players, with Mafco nowhere near the ball.

At this point, the mission was almost impossible for the visitors to stage any comeback as they struggled to keep possession and failed to create meaningful chances.

With 57th minute on the clock, Bullets should have scored another goal through Mwaungulu, who was denied by Mikuwa’ excellent produced to deny the youngster from registering his name on the scoresheet.

Mwansa made a triple substitution when he brought in Peter Kasonga, Gift Soko, and Blessings Chandiyang’ana for Bernard Chimaimba, Wakisa Kalinga and Stain Malata to try to improve their attacking prowess.

Mikuwa was having a torrid time on the afternoon as he was called into action again, this time, producing yet another save to deny Kondowe from netting his second goal of the match.

Pasuwa introduced MacFarlane Mgwira, Anthony Mfune, and Precious Sambani for Kondowe, Chirwa, and Gumbo.

Senaji made an excellent block to deny Phillimon from scoring, and when the cornerkick was awarded, the Kenyan tall defender was also very alert with a massive clearance.

With six minutes left to play, Phillimon saw his powerful header hitting the upright as Mafco created their first closest goal scoring opportunity, a clear indication that they had a very tough afternoon against the serial winners.

Referee Easter Zimba, who was also in charge of last season’ finale, blew his whistle to mark the end of the match which deservedly saw Bullets winning their first silverware this season.

Mwaungulu, with his two assists, was named man of the match. Kajoke, even though he did not score in the match, won the Golden Boot award with four goals behind Sichinga, who had three.