Blantyre Derby Preview: Wanderers vs Bullets

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Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers rekindle their rivalry in what promises to be an exhilarating first Blantyre derby in this campaign as the two lock horns in the TNM Super League at the Kamuzu Stadium tomorrow.

Improved Bullets, sitting second on the log standings, will be keen to build-up on their unbeaten five straight league games following what looked like a demanding start to the 2020/21 season.

Saturday’s encounter will be stormy as the two Blantyre giants will be looking to restore the derby pride as they have been sharing the spoils in the last two seasons, despite Bullets beating Wanderers 4-3 in the Energem Bonanza prior to the start of this campaign, which was halted in January due to Covid-19 before the resumption this month.

Head coach Kalisto Pasuwa says his side will treat the derby just like any other game, saying each game is equally important hence he prepares his players for any team that comes along the way.

“We prepare for each game equally. Wanderers is one of the teams that we have to meet in the league and therefore we need to approach them the same way we have been approaching the rest of the teams,” he told the press on Thursday.

Pasuwa, who will be in charge of the derby for the third consecutive time, says for Bullets to collect all three points against the Nomads, his boys must put everything in order.

“For one to win a derby, you need to put everything in order. We mustn’t look at the position of Wanderers because this is a derby where one can surprise you, so we need to be at our level best when we face them on Saturday,” he added.

The tactician also tackled a suggestion that he gives his players a special mental preparedness ahead of such encounters.

“We don’t have special preparations whenever facing Wanderers because every week we prepare our players mentally, physically and tactically in order for them to give us results,” stated Pasuwa.

The two teams are separated by eight points and a win for Bullets will see Pasuwa’s side closing the gap with Silver Strikers who are at the top of the table with 31 points, six above The People’s Team, who have a game in hand, while opening a 11-point gap against Wanderers.

FORM GUIDE

Bullets are heading into the match from a 2-1 victory over Civil Services Club last weekend, taking their winning games to four in five since the resumption of the game.

The People’s Team moved from eighth position to second, conceding only a single goal and collecting 13 points, with victories over Mzuzu Warriors, Mighty Tigers, Ekwendeni Hammers and Civil while dropping two points away to MAFCO FC.

On the other hand, Wanderers have collected 10 points from a possible 15 in the five matches they have played since the resumption of the season.

Wanderers lost to Moyale Barracks 1-0 before drawing 2-2 against Blue Eagles, while registering victories over Ekwendeni, Ntopwa and Chitipa United.

TEAM NEWS

The People’s Team will still be without goalkeepers Rabson Chiyenda and Ernest Kakhobwe, Pilirani Zonda, Lanjesi Nkhoma, Aziz Mwakifuna and Righteous Banda, who are all nursing long term injuries but Meshack Seleman and Chimango Kayira, who picked knocks during the game against Civil, are all part of the squad to face the Lali Rubani Boys

The last time the two teams met each other in the league was in 2019 where both matches ended in goalless draws.

But, for the past eight years, the defending champions have not lost to Wanderers and they would want to maintain their outstanding record against their neighbors.

PREVIOUS ENCOUNTERS 

2019 season 

Wanderers 0-0 Bullets

Bullets 0-0 Wanderers

2018 season 

Bullets 1-1 Wanderers

Wanderers 0-0 Bullets

2017 season

Wanderers 1-1 Bullets

Bullets 1-0 Wanderers

2016 season 

Wanderers 0-1 Bullets

Bullets 1-1 Wanderers

2015 season

Bullets 1-0 Wanderers

Wanderers 1-2 Bullets