Preview: Bullets, Wanderers ready to butt heads once more

Nyasa Big Bullets vs Blue Eagles

When FCB Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers clash, Malawian sports fanatics sit up in their chairs because it’s impossible to ignore. The controversy surrounding the officiating team, and a week full of extensive build-up, marked the Blantyre derby as arguably the country’s biggest sporting fixture.

On derby day, the streets of Blantyre become a sea of red and white stripes clashing with white and blue patterns. Jerseys, face paints, and banners are not just fan attire; they are armor. Every chant, every cheer, and every wave of the flag is a testament to the loyalty that these fans have for their teams

The last meeting between the two giants was in December last year in the Castel Challenge Cup semi-finals at Saturday’s venue in which Bullets won 4-2 on penalties to advance to the final where they defeated Silver Strikers to win the cup.

It will be the first-ever meeting between Kalisto Pasuwa and Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan who was appointed Wanderers coach in March this year.

Nsanzurwimo Ramadhan- Wanderers coach


The two teams come into the latest edition of the historic Blantyre Derby with little separating them in terms of form and their location on the TNM Super League table.

The Lali Lubani boys are in third position after four games, with the defending champions one spot behind having played the same number of games as their rivals. The two giants are only separated by goal difference and have each won two games, with the other two matches ending in draws.

Bullets started the new campaign with a disappointing 1-1 draw away to Dedza Dynamos before playing to a goalless draw against Mighty Tigers at home.

Their next assignment was another trip away to Chitipa United. Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges made amends to hammer the Northern Region-based side 3-0 through a strike each from Babatunde Adepoju, Ephraim Kondowe, and Patrick Mwaungulu.

They returned to Blantyre where they hosted Baka City. Bullets had to come from behind to beat the rookies 2-1 to move into the top four of the standings.

As for our opponents, they were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Kamuzu Barracks before hammering FOMO FC 3-0 in the next fixture.

They hosted Crerk Sporting Club in which they maintained their good scoring form by beating the Central Region-based side 3-0.

But, in their last assignment, they were frustrated by Bangwe All Stars in the goalless draw to fail to dislodge the current log leaders, Silver Strikers from the top spot.

Going into this match, Bullets will be eyeing back-to-back victories in a bid to build winning momentum to keep pace with Silver while Wanderers will be hoping to bounce back from their disappointing last outing.


Bullets currently hold the Blantyre Derby bragging rights, having won eight matches in the last 22 games since the 2012 season.

However, the last Derby win for Bullets was in the first round of the 2022 season on match week one when Anthony Mfune came from the bench to score the winning goal in the last five minutes of the match.

But since then, the two teams haven’t beaten each other, with the last three matches ending in draws.

Wanderers’ second league win over Bullets since 2012 came in the 2021 season when Vincent Nyangulu scored the only goal to inspire them to a hard-fought 1-0 victory over their rivals.

This means Wanderers go into this fixture looking for their first league win since September 2021.

In Cup matches, Bullets remain unbeaten against the Nomads in the last five semifinal meetings in different competitions.

Pasuwa’s men, however, lost to Wanderers 5-4 on penalties in the Airtel Top 8 final at Bingu National Stadium in December 2022.

Overall, in the last eight cup meetings between the two teams, Bullets have six wins against Wanderers’ two, with five of them registered in the semis and one final.

What the two coaches said ahead of the match

Kalisto Pasuwa: We only need to be positive. Like I said, derbies are very trick. Everyone wants to win; even if you look at supporters, the way they come in numbers means they need to win. So, the mindset that will make one win, when getting there into the game, to some of our boys, don’t put themselves under too much pressure because the moment you give yourself pressure, you will end up making so many mistakes and also, you need to be very careful in the way that you play because any mistake, you are punished. 

So, we need to be very tactically good in whatever we do.

It’s a game of soccer with three results; as I said, it’s a derby we are playing. We go there and play, motivate our boys and we can’t put too much pressure on them. Remember, these are league matches and we have so many matches coming. So we need also to motivate them and let them know that they are having more games coming.

But again, for one to be considered in the country, for one to be considered for the national team, for one to be seen and everyone, even supporters, he needs to prepare his mind well even the way he presents himself when playing these derbies.

Meck Mwase: We know that Bullets are defending champions and that the game will be a tough one but our ultimate goal is to be the champions this season so we will give our best.”


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