Preview: Teams eye Challenge Cup semifinal berth

Malawi Football player for Silver Strikers

The remaining two quarterfinal matches in the Castel Challenge Cup will be concluded this afternoon when the domestic powerhouse, FCB Nyasa Big Bullets, will play host to Ekwendeni Hammers while Silver Strikers will welcome Blue Eagles at Bingu National Stadium.

With Bangwe All Stars and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers already in the semis, the final two slots will be filled by the end of the day, with a possible Blantyre Derby in the offing following a draw that was done on Sunday.

At Kamuzu Stadium, the People’s Team will be hoping to continue their fine form at home against the Northern Region based outfit.

In the previous three visits to Malawi’s oldest football facility, Hammers has never recorded any league win over Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges, with the last outing ending 4-1 in favor of Bullets.

In the precious six league meetings between the two teams, Bullets have five victories, with only one match ending in a 1-1 draw at Rumphi Stadium.

However, Pasuwa believes the match will be very difficult for his charges than their 3-0 win over Civil Service United last Saturday.

“We are not underrating Ekwendeni Hammers. It’s a good team, and when we played them at Rumphi, they gave us a torid time. They fared well. They have young boys who are good at passing the ball around, and also, when they lose possession, they win it back very quickly.

“We need to do more in order for us to unlock them and get the goals so thar we can go to the next round.

We are not favorites against them just because we have been winning. This is a different game altogether,” he told Bullets media on Tuesday.

For the visitors to reach this stage, they earned a 6-5 shoot-out win over Dedza Dynamos following a 1-1 result in the regulation time.

This will be the first ever cup meeting between the two teams.

At BNS, Pieter De Jongh’s charges will entertain Eliya Kananji’s side in a highly anticipated clash. The Bankers, who cruised to this stage with a comfortable 7-1 win over Ekwendeni United, are favorites to go through, having beaten their opponents 2-1 in the league.

However, Eagles will hope to repeat what they did in 2018 when they knocked the area 47 based side out of the Airtel Top 8 Cup.

The visitors will also forget about their relegation to the Premier Division and focus on ending the season on a high.

This will be their last chance for a silverware, having missed out on the Airtel Top 8, FDH Bank, and recently, the Super League.

They reached this stage after they hammered Kamuzu Barracks 3-1 at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.

As for the Bankers, they are still in the Airtel Top 8, but they will go flat out in order to send a statement of intent, especially to Bullets, a team that has already won the FDH Bank Cup and the Super League.

The winner between Bullets and Hammers will host Wanderers while the winner between Silver and Eagles will travel to play Bangwe All Stars in the last four.