FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves coach Enos Chatama anticipates the 2023 ThumbsUp Southern Region Football League campaign to be tough but exciting for his side.
As conducted by the Southern Region Football Association a week ago, the draw saw 22 teams slotted into two groups.
Bullets Reserves were drawn into Group B of the second-tier Premier Division together with Mighty Mukuru Wanderers Reserves, MDF Marine, The Boyz, Mighty Tigers Reserves, FOMO, Ntopwa, Changalume Barracks, Zomba Airbase, Mangochi United and Ntaja United.
Club media spoke to our reserves coach, who commented on the draw and provided a preview of the upcoming season after losing six key starting XI players that have been loaned out to TNM Super League sides, Bangwe All Stars and Ekwendeni Hammers.
On being drawn into Group B
It was an open draw and we can only accept it as a fair one. We cannot choose ourselves as opponents, we just need to be ready for the new challenge. I think it is a tough but exciting draw for us. We are facing familiar opponents and it will be interesting to see how will perform this time around.
On life after six departures
This has been the trend for the Reserves side all these years. We have been losing reliable players year in, year out. We do not need to play under pressure but we just have to build a good team for next season. I believe as the games progress the new boys will be used to the heat of the league. They will be improving day by day and game after game. I think that’s a good process for the players to improve and become better in the future.
On whether the new boys can replace last season’s stars
Players differ in one way or the other. Football goes with generations and time. The likes of [Chikumbutso] Salimas did their part and they went. We still need other players to come in and fill the shoes. I do not think we have to compare the new boys with those who have left. They are at a different level altogether. As time goes on, I believe we will build a good team.
Players come and go and you still have to build a team for the future and that is when you know that you are doing your job well and that you can interact with the kids and build them up for future success.
I believe if some key players were still here, some players could not have been seen. Some have to go and some have to come in. We believe at the end of the season we still have to produce one to three better players for the future. Not only for Bullets but for the whole Malawi.
On another title defence mission
First, we do not have to be looking at defending the title. We have to rebuild; I do not want to give that pressure on the players. They just need to play games and see where they can finish at the end of the season.
Our ambition is not to win the league. We have been winning it for quite so long and this time around we just have to be building the players and have a good team so that we see what happens.
On what a new Bullets Reserves side will look like
I will take players who can suit the way we want them to play. I believe we will play the same but people should not expect much from these boys because they are very young compared to all the squads we have had in the past. It is a learning process; the fruits will eventually be seen.