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Match preview: Wanderers vs Bullets

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All roads will lead to Kamuzu Stadium this weekend as FCB Nyasa Big Bullets visit Mighty Mukuru Wanderers in the Blantyre derby at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

With the two rivals coming from frustrating draws last weekend, they will not only be playing for the three points in the TNM Super League but will also be battling for the city’s bragging rights.

The two teams face off in the most-followed fixture in Malawian football and will be meeting for the second time this season after Bullets defeated their Wanderers 2-1 in the NBS Bank Charity Shield in April.

Form guide 

Saturday’s fixture arrives with the two rivals separated by three points in the standings, with Bullets occupying second place with 21 points, three ahead of the Nomads who are third with 18 points.

In their previous encounters, the Lali Lubani Boys were held to a 1-all draw at home by Dedza Dynamos last Sunday, 24 hours after Bullets dropped points following a goalless draw away to Kamuzu Barracks.

The two giants are chasing the current log leaders, Silver Strikers, who opened a three and six-point gap over the Blantyre-based neighbours.

Head-to-head 

An equalizer from Muhamad Sulumba with two minutes left to play brought back Wanderers to life after they staged a comeback to draw 3-3 at the same venue last August.

At some point, the match was 3-1 in favour of The People’s Team, who were destined to collect all three points only for Kalisto Pasuwa’s men to surrender their lead towards the end of the match.

Wanderers will continue to search for their first league win over Bullets since September 2021.

For the past decade, Wanderers only registered victory over their bitter rivals once, a 1-0-win in the 2020/21 campaign, courtesy of a first-half strike from Vincent Nyangulu.

The Nomads would want to rediscover their form having registered a loss and draw in succession against a side that finished the entire 2022 spell unbeaten at the Kamuzu Stadium, however, they will have to be at their level best to overcome a highly-spirited side which has made Kamuzu Stadium a no-go area for any team for the past decade.

Victory for Bullets will see the defending champions opening up a six-point gap against their rivals and keeping pace with Silver Strikers, who will be at home facing Chitipa United on Saturday afternoon.

But if the Nomads carry the day, they will go level on points with their rivals in the title race, all chasing the Central Bankers who have started the season on a very high note.

Heading into this encounter, both teams have a remarkable defensive record, conceding five and six goals, respectively.

It is however the red side of town which is more dangerous in creating and scoring goals, having scored 20 league goals this season and 15 of them have been scored at Kamuzu Stadium. The Nomads have found the back of the net 13 times, seven scoring at home.

What’s at stake

Bragging rights and township supremacy is on the line in this derby, which divides not just Blantyre but the whole country down the middle. There is also the opportunity for many of the players and technical staff to write their personal history in this fixture.

Bullets are chasing their fifth successive Super League title, whilst Wanderers, who last won the title in 2017, will be looking to keep their title hopes alive with a win in the derby.

Team news

Kalisto Pasuwa will be without seven of his players in this encounter. Clyde Senaji, Stanley Billiat, Eric Kaonga, Mike Mkwate, Chinedu Okafor, Nickson Nyasulu, and Yankho Singo are all out of this fixture due to injuries and illness.

On the other hand, Mark Harrison will be without defender Miracle Gabeya, who is on suspension.

What Pasuwa said about Saturday’s opponents

“My players shouldn’t consider them [Wanderers] a weaker side because they drew last week, because when playing against us, they can put up maximum performance.

“Every player needs to be in a derby [mood] and as Bullets, we know what we want, and each one in the house shouldn’t take them lightly because they are coming from a draw.

“We should take them as Wanderers because in all the games that we have been playing, they have been very close to us and a team that will have a positive mind will carry the day. We need to be serious about this game,” he told club media ahead of the fixture.

“I am anticipating a very highly charged Wanderers and I know the aggression which is there. It’s very unfortunate that their supporters pounced on them last time, but we are the ones on the pitch. We don’t go to lose a game because we also need salaries from the games as part of our jobs.

“These guys will come hard on us as usual to prove a point that they are still in the race despite some setbacks suffered in recent weeks.”

How to follow the Blantyre derby

The match will be live on Mpira TV and online it will be streamed on FIFA+. You can also catch the match updates on our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Match officials

Having officiated our 3-1 victory at home against Red Lions on 28 May, Mwayi Msungama returns as centre referee for our away fixture and this time he will be in charge of the Blantyre derby which will kick off at 14h30.

Referee: Mwayi Msungama

Assistant Referee 1: Happiness Mbandambanda

Assistant Referee 2: Mussa Grant

Fourth Official: Mayamiko Kanjere

Match Assessor: Maxwell Mtonga

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