Long wait for league title continues for Nomads

Malawi Football players

…booted out of title race following Bullets’ win in Karonga…

Mighty Mukuru Wanderers’ TNM Super League drought will be extended to five seasons after they were booted out of the title race following FCB Nyasa Big Bullets’q0 hard-fought 1-0 win away to Karonga United on Wednesday.

Before Bullets’ match, Mark Harrison’s charges were still in the title race and needed a helping hand from Karonga United to keep their title hopes alive going into the final matches on Sunday.

But Karonga’s defeat completely eliminated the Nomads from the race, leaving Bullets and Silver Strikers to fight for the crown.

With 55 points from 29 games, the farthest they can go will be 58 points, a point below Bullets’ 59 points heading into Sunday’s finale.

Wanderers may have pressurized Bullets in the title race, but their goalless home draw with Mighty Tigers made things very difficult for the Lali Lubani boys who were slowly minimizing their chances of ending a Super League drought which they lastly won in 2017.

Earlier, before the kick off the current campaign, their Captain Stanley Sanudi vowed to sweep everything, especially the league, which was a priority after they played second fiddle to their rivals who have been very dominant.

“As players, we have agreed to win each and every trophy this season, especially the league which we haven’t won since 2017. We will do whatever it takes to bring trophies to Lali Lubani, but we need your support. We are geared for the challenge. It won’t be easy, but it’s doable,” he told a gathering of supporters who graced one of their pre-season training sessions.

Where was the title lost for the Nomads?

They started the campaign on a very high note after they registered three straight wins over Civil Service United, Ekwendeni Hammers, and Red Lions.

They led the log table for the next three weeks, but things took a turn in the fourth week when they were held to a 1-1 draw away to Tigers.

That draw was followed by yet another disappointing result away to Moyale Barracks. The match ended 0-0.

These two results saw them surrendering the top position to their rivals who were in the driving seat for the next few weeks until they were also dislodged by the Central Bankers who recorded a hard-fought 1-0 win over Mafco FC a day after Bullets’ first league loss away to Chitipa United.

As Bullets dropped points for the first time, Wanderers followed suit when they lost to Chitipa United, a surprise package in the current season, lost to Extreme FC, drew with Kamuzu Barracks and Dedza Dynamos at home.

Peiter De Jhong’s charges led the standings for the next five weeks, and the Dutchman was very confident of ending Bullets’ dominance.

But, he lost 2-1 to Civil Service United, and two back-to-back goalless draws to Dedza Dynamos and Tigers, an opportunity that was given to Bullets to return to the summit again.

However, Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges dropped to second position following their CAF Champions League participation as they were spared from having domestic games.

At this moment, Chitipa United was in the driving seat for a period of less than three weeks as Nomads took over from them.

But Harrison’s charges failed to capitalize on Bullets’ inactivity in the domestic competitions, especially in the league as they failed to beat both Red Lions and Moyale Barracks at home, and went on to register their third defeat away to Kamuzu Barracks.

To make matters worse, they lost 1-0 away to Silver Strikers, and their fate was sealed when they drew 0-0 against Tigers at Kamuzu Stadium.

This was a day of which Bullets also lost to Dedza Dynamos, but the Lali Lubani boys could not use this to regain control of the log table, handing the opportunity to Silver who scored a last-minute goal to beat KB 2-1.

Now, Harrison told the media soon after their hard-fought 1-0 win over Red Lions in the Castel Challenge Cup that it was no longer in their hands, but they were still hoping for a miracle through Karonga United’s win over Bullets.

That miracle was never meant to happen as Patrick Mwaungulu rose to the occasion with a powerful header in the 7th minute, a goal that secured all the points and automatically booted Wanderers out of the title race.

On Sunday, the best they can hope for is to finish in the second position depending on Silver’s result over Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium.

Mathematically, the Bankers are still in the race provided they score more than five goals and keep a cleansheet against a side that is always dominant at home regardless of the opposition at hand.

The Nomads, who were the busiest team on the transfer market when they brought on board Mphatso Kamanga, Gaddie Chirwa, Lawrence Chaziya, Francisco Madinga, Emmanuel Nyirenda, Christopher Kumwembe and, Dalitso Khungwa, will never forget a season which should have been theirs considering how bad Bullets performed.

This was regarded as Bullets’ worst season after they only managed to register four wins away from home, kept on dropping unnecessary points at home, and lost two games, and they were made to play several matches within the shortest period to cover the gap with other teams who had already played more games due to Bullets’ Champions League participation.

But in their ‘worst’ season, they have already won the FDH Bank Cup, reached the finals of the Airtel Top 8 Cup and are almost a step away from retaining the Super League title for the fifth consecutive season.