FCB Nyasa Big Bullets were crowned Malawi Super League champions on Sunday afternoon after grabbing the required points against Silver Strikers. The latest win makes it five league titles in five years.
Bullets have a stronghold on the local game and the trophies to show for it. Their recent capture of yet another league medal means Bullets have 17 league titles to their name, that’s more than Silver and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers have combined.
Malawi24 looks at how The People’s Team was able to win the 2023 TNM Super League championship.
The lethal midfielder, who also played a role in his debut season with Bullets last year, has also been vital for Kalisto Pasuwa’ title defense.
The youngest member in his 34-man squad, Mwaungulu, a product of Bullets Reserves, scored the winning goal against Civil Service United when the game was heading to a 2-2 draw.
Mwaungulu was at it again when he scored the winning goal against Bangwe All Stars with less than ten minutes left on the clock to play.
He didn’t stop there. He scored the winning goal when Bullets collected all the points over Karonga United last Wednesday.
When it comes to the number of assists, he has finished second, one behind Stanley Sanudi, who has had ten assists to his name.
The 22-year-old has been involved in 26 of the 30 games for his club this season, an undroppable and unstoppable player with his pace to help Bullets to maintain their domestic dominance.
He is likely to be one of the contenders for the Footballer of the Season Award alongside his teammate, Lanjesi Nkhoma.
Mwaungulu delivered when it mattered most for an injury stricken Bullets in what has been described as one of the toughest seasons ever.
Kalisto Pasuwa once again showed how smart he is by balancing energy amongst his players. Going by the statistics, almost each and every registered player has featured for his team as Bullets had no established first eleven.
The tactician made it clear at the beginning of the just ended season that he expected to see every player getting involved because he knew his team was going to play more games than the rest of the teams.
True to his words, Pasuwa became very unpredictable and kept on using different players in every fixture on a rotational basis. He gave playing minutes to his players to last long in a season in which his team was forced to play a game every three days due to their CAF Champions League participation.
Every player has contributed to the team’s success and Pasuwa’s ability to swap out individuals in his starting eleven but still keep the same winning mentality and form was key.
For a head coach to be able to rotate his players in each and every game means he has depth. Pasuwa once explained how he separates the league into three different game campaigns and how different players knew which campaign they would have to contribute in, keeping the freshness and quality until the final game.
This strategy has worked wonders once more, with Yankho Singo’s recent form a testament to it.
Bullets don’t give up until the final whistle
They have won sixteen games, but if you ask every Bullets fan to mention his/her memorable game (s), Civil and Kamuzu Barracks games will be mentioned.
In these two games, Bullets were 2-0 down at Kamuzu Stadium. But they defied all odds to stage stunning comebacks and claim wins in what other teams would easily give up.
This spirit alone is something extraordinary that has seen the team going down before staging a comeback to claim all the points, something lacking amongst other Super League title contenders.
Had it been Bullets dropped points in those two games, Silver would have won the title so easily, but they showed a character of a champion and claimed all the points to edge closer to their fifth league title.
The People’s Team has, for the second consecutive time, finished the season without a league defeat at Kamuzu Stadium, something both Silver and Wanderers failed to do.
The Bankers lost at home to Dedza Dynamos and Civil while Wanderers were beaten by Chitipa United at home. One of the many secrets to win the championship battle is to make your home a no-go zone for teams, regardless of the opposition at hand.
Bullets did exactly that, and they are the champions once again, giving no chance to their fellow rivals to have a hand on the crown.
Silver Strikers and Wanderers’ failure to capitalize when Bullets was at bay
Due to their Champions League participation, Bullets were excused from playing domestic games. For more than five times, they lost the top position to Wanderers, Silver, and at one point, Chitipa United, but none of these teams could keep the place for long until Pasuwa’s charges resumed local games and the moment they rose to the top, they never surrendered the position until the final day.
The title rivals should have capitalized by winning their games, but they kept on dropping unnecessary points. Silver lost to Red Lions, Dedza and Civil, drew 0-0 with Extreme FC while Wanderers failed to beat Lions, Moyale and KB and lost to Extreme FC. To make matters worse, they drew 0-0 with Tigers on the same day that Bullets lost to Dedza Dynamos.
These results made things very easy for Bullets who started using maths to find the quickest way possible to retain the championship. When they traveled to Karonga, they knew they needed a win and they exactly did what was required of them to do. Against Silver on the final day, they knew a point was enough to crown them as champions, and they achieved that.
Their rivals made it very easy for them to retain the title by their inconsistency.