Bullets vs Tigers: Pasuwa’s pre-match press conference

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Kalisto Pasuwa was back in front of the media on Thursday for his weekly pre-match press conference ahead of Nyasa Big Bullets’ home game against Mighty Tigers in the TNM Super League on Sunday.

The tactician shared his thoughts about facing the relegation-threatened side, the contribution of Bullets key players to the national team, which is preparing for a friendly match against Tanzania, and how he is coping with injuries that include Mike Mkwate, who has been ruled out for Sunday’s encounter.

Below is the full transcript of what the coach said…

Another TNM Super League match coming on Sunday, how are you looking forward to the game against Tigers?

“A very tough game. We have been playing Tigers [we have met them numerous times] since I came here; [it’s] a team that plays good football with structure, a team which plays from the back, coming up in attack and playing in all phases of the game. We have been talking to the boys not to underrate [them] considering the fact that when we played Ekwendeni Hammers last time, we had problems in 40 to 50 minutes. We failed to cope up with the demands.

“We have been pushing up the guys so that when we play on Sunday we will have an improved performance, but again it’s up to us as a team also to take each and every game coming seriously. We shouldn’t undermine each and every team before we play a match, so Tigers is a team which gives more problems especially when playing big teams, so we hope for a good game when we play them on Sunday.”

You have a lot of injuries, how are you coping especially at this crucial time of the season where maximum points are a must?

“Injuries are inevitable, but again we have so many players that we registered, so we try as we can to use them. I am one of the coaches where people will always question as to why I keep on changing my starting eleven, but I told you [last week] that whenever I am setting up my team, I look at the broader picture where I am looking at the end of the season. We are playing games every week, sometimes two games Saturday [and] Sunday, we are playing on hard surfaces, so we need to manage each and every player so that when they are called to play, they should carry the day for the team.”

Has there been a research as to what is happening? Because probably half of the Bullets squad is normally injured for the third consecutive season now…

“On that one, this is my second [full season] here now. And yes we have been having injuries, like I said injuries come in into a team. But if you can look at some of the injuries they are bones and not muscles. If it was muscles, hamstrings and so on, I would have gone to the fitness trainer to tell us as to why we are having such injuries, is it to do with loading or something else, but on our side when we play a game one has a broken bone, tibia, and etc. So it’s part of football and what we need is to have depth in order for us to come up with points.”

You haven’t trained with a number of your key players who are with the national team and previously you have complained that whenever they return, there is a gap in terms of preparations, how are you going to cope this time around considering that you definitely have to play games and at the same time national duty matters?

“Last time when I was complaining, it was also at the start of the season and we were in pre-season, where you mostly introduce the system that you want to use in the season ahead, you introduce movements, formations and many more. We wanted all the players to be around, but again when they are being taken by the national team during games, say for more than a week it becomes difficult for us, like in this case where we are having so many injuries, I will be forced to introduce three or four new players plus those who were with the national team and you’ll see the team struggling, so it’s a challenge. But again remember that’s a national duty and we also need to do according to how national team cope up to their demands.”

Zicco Mkanda was earlier this week ruled out for two weeks due to an injury and Meshack Seleman was being monitored during the week. And Mike [Mkwate] didn’t train on Wednesday and today, any update?

“Zicco is one boy we said he is out for two weeks, but we have been monitoring them with the doctors and has shown tremendous improvements, but let’s see how things go tomorrow and Saturday then we will have to go for a late fitness test. The same with Meshack, who trained well today, but he will also have to go for a late fitness test and see if he can be available on Sunday. But Mike is definitely out.”

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