By Albert Chigoga
Nyasa Big Bullets are for the first time in the final of the CECAFA Kagame Cup.
The interclub competition, whose 2021 edition started two weeks ago, comes to its very finale today, 14 August 2021, at the Benjamin Mkapa National Stadium in Tanzania, with the final set to kick off at 18h00 CAT.
The battle line has been drawn between Express FC of Uganda and Bullets of Malawi, the two teams that met in the group stages of the competition in a clash that ended one-all.
With the spoils shared at group stage when the teams met cannot be shared again. One of the two finalists must come out top, either in regulation time, in extra time or through penalties.
In 1983, ADMARC Tigers FC was the first Malawian team to reach the final of the same competition that took place in Zanzibar, but lost to AFC Leopards (The battle of the big cats).
In the turn of times, every football loving Malawian is intimately interceding for The People’s Team to tread on the ghosts that stood on the way of ADMARC Tigers in the final. As it is being said, this one must come home. 38 years is long a period.
The euphoria of Bullets reaching the final against all odds stands for its character that clearly signifies that what normally eludes us in football must not repeat itself. It is therefore a paradox to think that the spirit of elusion will carry another day. The club wants to rewrite football history whose records have mostly ended in tears on several occasions. To dare is surely to do.
One piece of history that most Malawians are not aware is the fact that the ADMARC Tigers that reached the final in 1983 was coached by Bata Bullets (now Nyasa Big Bullets) legend, Kanjedza Kamwendo, who is now following the CECAFA competition with fond memories. He is pretty much aware of the importance of participating in the competition, having guided his team to the final stage at the time.
Reacting to the news that the Bullets, a team he once played for has reached the stage in the competition he guided a Malawian team to the final in ‘83, he simply said:
“It feels great and hopefully Bullets must do it for Malawian people whilst I am still alive”
Does history repeat itself? Yes it does. After 38 years when Kanjedza, a Bullets legend guided Tigers to the final, one other Bullets legend Peter Mponda (Bullets Assistant Coach) has done the same in 2021.
At the time Kamwendo was seeing Tigers playing in the final, Peter Mponda was only 2 years old (born September1981).
Moreover, history has it that 1967 was the year CECAFA tournament started, though it was not officially recognised then. Coincidentally Bullets was also established as a football club in Malawi in the same year.
It appeals to note that the State President Dr. Lazarus Chakwera has led all Malawians to wish Nyasa Big Bullets FC the success during the final.
And the presence of Bullets president, Konrad Buckle, and some of the directors including the Sports Minister, Hon. Ulemu Msungama, at the tournament’s final game is the perfect timing to give the much-needed inspiration to the team.
The character that refuses to play an underdog in high profile competitions has passed on from different generations of Bullets players and officials.
Nyasa Big Bullets’ willpower will stop the Ugandan champions from EXPRESSing themselves.