Nyasa Big Bullets head coach Kalisto Pasuwa said it was very important for his side to collect maximum points over Mighty Tigers at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday as he eyes another TNM Super League title.
The People’s Team collected all three points courtesy of strikes in each half from Hassan Kajoke and Chimwemwe Idana to go level on points with Silver Strikers with 39 points at the top of the standings.
In his post-match reaction, Pasuwa said although his players were second on the ball throughout the match, they showed character to collect full points against Trevor Kajawa’s bottom three side.
“A hard-fought victory indeed as we were second on the ball in most phases of the game, but the fact that we collected maximum points means we are geared up to chase the team which is on top of the league,” the Zimbabwean told journalists in Blantyre.
Pasuwa observed that Bullets are struggling to jell well because the team has roped in new players who are still in the process of adapting to The People’s Team’s style of play.
“We are still having problems where most of the guys are losing confidence in keeping the ball. Remember Bullets keep possession and making some of the new guys who are coming into the team to adapt to our style of play is proving to be a huge task, but we will come out good,” explained the coach who’s pursuing his third title after taking charge in 2018.
The tactician also lamented his side’s struggle to the season to endless injuries that are hitting his squad.
“We have been having so many injuries to the team hence having so many struggles in our combination play.”
Bullets lost left-back Precious Sambani and creative midfielder Mike Mkwate to injuries in last week’s 2-0 win over Ekwendeni Hammers and during Sunday’s match, Chiukepo Msowoya and Gomezgani Chirwa were stretchered off after sustaining hamstring and ankle injuries, respectively.
Pasuwa admitted the fresh injuries were another huge blow to his side.
“It’s a huge concern indeed. [This is] one thing I have been talking about when people complain that I don’t have an established first eleven and I have been saying that we need to prepare each and every player to be ready for these matches.
“Remember we are playing on hard surfaces where at times, with demands of the training and the games that we are playing, we need everybody to be ready and play and replace anyone who is injured,” he explained.
On changing player positions due to the persistent injuries, the head coach said:
“I registered 30 players and they all get paid to play football and I need to give them confidence and in doing so, it won’t be a problem. Remember we are in a marathon where we are playing 30 games where we need these boys to be fit and win the championship.”
Apart from the latest injuries, the defending champions have been without holding midfielder Aziz Mwakifuna and left-winger Righteous Banda due to long-term injuries sustained earlier this year.
Captain John Lanjesi, who was considered to be fully back from his knee injury, has been struggling to get full minutes since his recovery after staying on the sidelines for close to a season. He came off the bench last weekend to replace injured Sambani only to be in the terraces during Sunday’s encounter.
Precious Phiri, who has also been out after appearing only once in the first-round of the current campaign, returned Sunday with a spot in the starting XI and got full minutes with good delivery as he won Bullets a penalty that earned Hassan Kajoke his goal of the afternoon and an opener for The People’s Team.
The People’s Team were scheduled to face Ntopwa this coming weekend in a fixture that might be postponed due to Malawi national team engagement in an international friendly away to Tanzania next Sunday.
Bullets have Chimwemwe Idana, Chimango Kayira, Nickson Nyasulu and Erick Kaonga in the Flames squad currently in camp in Chiwembe.