Nyasa Big Bullets head coach Kalisto Pasuwa says his players are always ready for any showdown despite the recent bad run of results.
He was speaking on Friday ahead of Saturday’s TNM Super League fixture away to Kamuzu Barracks at Civo Stadium.
The People’s Team arrived in Lilongwe on Friday for their must win encounter against KB as the quest to defend the league title continues.
Bullets had a training session at Nankhaka for close to two hours as Pasuwa prepared his men for the task ahead in search for maximum points.
Speaking to club media, the Zimbabwean said it was unanticipated to see the team struggling during games despite putting so much effort.
“The boys have been ready for all games and it’s always very unfortunate to see them struggling during games when we train so hard,” said Pasuwa, who is eyeing his third consecutive title with Bullets. “We have been trying to find out what’s making them lose focus during matches and we have tried to push them in order for us to start winning games.”
“It’s all about converting chances into goals because whenever we are playing these teams, they can only get one or two chances and then they punish us, but we will get more chances and scoring none, so this in one of the many areas that we have been working on before facing Kamuzu Barracks on Saturday.”
“And when you look at goals that we are conceding are basic because of lack of concentration. We need to concentrate throughout by not letting our opponents to score through the center in each and every game. We need to close them down by any means so that we are able to contain pressure and win games,” he told Bullets media.
Bullets are coming from a 0-1 loss to rivals Mighty Wanderers, whose win against the defending champions last Sunday made the championship battle a three-race horse, with Silver Strikers also chasing the silverware.
With the three teams all playing 28 games, The People’s Team top the standings with 56 points as the Central Bankers come second with 55 points and Wanderers third with 54 points.
Pasuwa admits the pressure is now mounting on his charges. He was however quick to mention that he was counting on his senior players to guide the youngsters and sail through the current blip of form.
“Yes the pressure will likely be there, especially on the youngsters, but we have senior players who have been in this situation before who can guide them to handle pressure,” he explained. “We have put ourselves in this situation and the onus is on us to take ourselves out of it as well.”
Bullets have the league to defend after recently bowing out of the FDH Bank Cup quarterfinal at the hands of Silver Strikers and the CAF Champions League, losing to South Africa’s AmaZulu in the preliminary round.
The tactician believes that results from the past games will motivate the players to do whatever it takes to bounce back and win the remaining games to defend the league.
“We have been down in our previous games, so it’s up to the players to fight back and collect maximum points in order to defend their title,” said Pasuwa.
Against Kamuzu Barracks in the first round, Bullets registered a 3-1 victory over the Lilongwe-based military side through a first-half brace from Peter Banda and Zicco Mkanda’s strike at Kamuzu Stadium.
A win on Saturday afternoon will see Bullets edging closer to title defense. However, Pasuwa’s men should anticipate a very tough opposition as the top eight battle will also be the center of focus with Airtel Top 8 returning at the end of the year.
Bullets head into the match straight from their derby defeat whilst the 2016 league winners are coming from a 2-0 victory over TN Stars last week.
KB are currently on 9th position with 41 points from 29 games.
Pasuwa has every player on board to pick from for Saturday’s showdown except McFallen Mgwira, who suffered a foot injury in training during the week.
Paul Kansungwi has returned to full fitness after picking an ankle injury prior to the game against AmaZulu and has travelled with the team alongside Anthony Mfune, who recently joined the team on a long term contract from Karonga United.
Stanley Billiat is also one of the youngsters who is available for selection on Saturday after helping the Bullets Reserves lift the 2021 ThumbsUp South Region Football League Premier Division title.