Nyasa Big Bullets head coach Kalisto Pasuwa praised his youngsters for being fearless in their NBS Bank Charity Shield 1-0 victory over Silver Strikers at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The People’s Team were victorious in the traditional season curtain-raiser as they saw off their opponents courtesy of a 36th minute header from centre-back Hadji Wali, who netted his first goal for Bullets against his former team.
Pasuwa handed first time starts to goalkeeper Clever Mkungula, central defender Kesten Simbi and midfielder Patrick Mwaungulu, just four weeks after they graduated to the senior team from Bullets Reserves.
22-year-old Mkungula was brilliant in goal as he showed his brilliance when he made a number of crucial serves to help Bullets win their fifth Charity Shield which they have won consecutively since it was introduced by the Football Association of Malawi in 2016.
Simbi, 20, was also key in Bullets defence as he paired well with Wali to form a block that also had Gomegzani Chirwa on the right side of defence and Eric Kaonga on the left.
The 19-year-old Mwaungulu, who was deployed as a number 10 alongside captain Chimwemwe Idana and the youngster provided an assist from the corner kick as he floated the ball into the box where a well-positioned Wali pounced to help Bullets secure their third win over Silver Strikers in their last three meetings.
Another youngster, Stanley Billiat, who has also been fully promoted to the senior team, was brought in in the 84th minute to replace injured Lanjesi Nkhoma and the 20-year-old almost registered his name on the scoresheet, however his header from close range lacked more power to beat goalkeeper Charles Thom.
Pasuwa, who promoted six players from the junior side after releasing eleven from the senior team, hailed his youngsters for coming out top against such a very difficult side that had very experienced players such as Blessings Tembo, Chawanangwa Kaonga, Tawonga Chimodzi, Stain Davie, Young Chimdzi Junior and Frank Banda.
“My youngsters did very well especially when you consider that it was their first time to play under such a huge crowd. Patrick did well with his complete passes and Kesten was very solid at the back when he provided cover to his goalkeeper,” said the Bullets head coach in a post-match interview.
“In goal, Clever was also very brilliant. That’s one thing we need to consider giving opportunities to these youngsters who have been doing well for the Reserves. At Bullets we will continue giving each and every player an opportunity to prove his abilities.
“Last time we had Richard Chimbamba, who won us the TNM Super League [last season] and today we have Mkungula, who did well and I wouldn’t mind if I put him again to man the goal posts because he is a performer.”
Saturday’s result was Bullets’ second victory over the Central Bankers in the season’s opener after The People’s Team registered a 3-0 victory in 2018.
Bullets’ stats in the Charity Shield:
Nyasa Big Bullets 2-0 Mighty Wanderers
Nyasa Big Bullets 3-1 Kamuzu Barracks
Nyasa Big Bullets 3-0 Silver Strikers
Nyasa Big Bullets 1-0 Mighty Wanderers
Nyasa Big Bullets 1-0 Silver Strikers