Nyasa Big Bullets will this Saturday be playing their first game in a cup competition in more than a year, facing their own reserve side in the FDH Bank Cup Round of 32 at Kamuzu Stadium.
Deemed as a family affair in people’s minds and on paper, head coach Kalisto Pasuwa admitted that facing an opposition which plays similar football to his side will be a tall order, but he is optimistic that his side will show the seniority over their juniors.
Speaking to Club media in Blantyre on Thursday, the tactician discussed a number of issues, including his team’s chances of progressing to the next round and injury concerns ahead of the showdown.
Below is the full transcript of Pasuwa’s interview.
Take us through the preparations and your thoughts about the upcoming match against Bullets Reserves…
“A very good match coming ahead. We played away from home last week in a league match in Lilongwe, we came back and started our preparations on Tuesday with most of the players on board. We are playing our first cup game this season and we haven’t been doing well in most cup competitions that we have been playing, so we want to do better this time around and we have been trying to push each other in areas where we are making mistakes in order for us to improve this time around.”
Playing the Reserve side in a cup competition, how does this emotionally impact your approach to the game?
“A good opponent that we are playing against, a team that plays same philosophy with us and we almost do similar things, but again it’s a cup game and at the end of the day we need a win and we will take it our opponents the same way we do when we are playing other teams.”
In people’s minds and on paper, this looks to be a family affair, how do you take such thoughts?
“We can indeed say it’s a family affair, but again to a professional player, you always have the intention to win, so I am not saying we should break each other’s legs but the approach should have everything to do with the winning mentality so that we progress to the next round of the competition.”
How easy or difficult it is to play minnows in a cup tie?
“Not easy like what people might say. It’s going to be very difficult. We need to push more in order for us to win this game. These youngsters play exciting football and they have got alot of energy and can be running everywhere, but tactically we need to think more than them during the match so that we may proceed to the next round.”
The last time Bullets did well in a cup competition was in 2017, this time around, what will it take for the team to go far?
“There are areas that we need to work on. Last time, we got knocked out through penalties, where some of the players especially the youngsters whom we promoted from the Reserves, were very afraid to take penalties, so we have been working on that and I am very sure that they have matured enough to take penalties and we will do more when we play these teams that are coming.”
Do you have injury concerns ahead of the showdown?
“We have been having some of the guys who are still out and some of the guys like Chimango Kayira and Paul Kansungwi are not doing well, but we will see how things will unfold before the match.