FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves staged a remarkable 2-1 comeback victory at Namitete Zitha FC on Sunday afternoon to seal their spot in the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup at the Champions Stadium.
Maxwell Mangwelo won the opening half for the Chipiku Central Region Football League side with his successful penalty kick in the 35th minute.
Come the second half, goals from Chrispin Mapemba and captain Andrew Lameck completed what was a mouth-watering comeback victory for the young Bullets.
Now to stand in the path of our youngsters is Northern Region side Baka City in the quarter-finals of this inaugural edition of the Champions Cup.
Meeting for the second time in a fortnight, the two sides took no time to study each other before relentlessly going blow after blow for half an hour of the tie.
Looking a bit more dangerous in the final third was Namitete whose heavy metal style of play forced young Maule to concede a penalty five minutes before the half-hour mark and their number 10 Mangwelo made that count with a calm execution.
Then on, our youngsters looked for the swiftest reply but the dominance from the opponents refused to fluff until the break.
Just as it has become their custom in recent weeks, the reserves side of The People’s Team returned from the interval in beast mode as they looked to turn around the tie as soon as possible.
Having introduced Macray Chiwaya, who was making his first appearance after spending a month on the sidelines with a groin injury, for Oscar Petro, coach Enos Chatama then witnessed his side increase the creation of chances.
Nonetheless, Namitete’s resilience went on, prompting us to make the second change which saw Francis Malikebu being introduced for Lyton Chinong’one.
And our second change combined with our first, proved to be well-calculated as the two went on to inspire an incredible turnaround of the tie as we eventually won ourselves a penalty kick in the 68th minute.
Striker Gift Lamowa was brought down in the area by the captain of the other side Yohane Kamwanza and the referee awarded us a spot kick which Mapemba emphatically took to make it 1-1.
With that equalizer, we caught on fire and six minutes later the defining moment arrived in the tie when captain Lameck, from 30 yards out, unleashed a screamer of a strike to score his first-ever goal in his Bullets career and put us in front.
Last week our youngsters conceded in the last minute to draw away at Ntaja United, but learning from that disappointment and making sure there was no repetition of it, they withstood Namitete’s desperate quest for a late equalizer until the comeback was confirmed, 2-1 it finished in Mponela.
What it means
With Sunday’s win, our youngsters remain unbeaten in 15 games played in the central region.
Baka City is the next assignment for Bullets Reserves in the Champions Cup which now move into the quarter-finals stage.
It is proving to be another season for title overhaul by our youngsters. While they lead Group B of the ThumbsUp Southern Region Football League, they are in the semi-finals of the 2023 Aubrey Dimba Trophy and now here they are in the quarter-finals of the Champions Cup.
Coach Enos Chatama post Namitete
“Today it was very tough. In the first half they dominated, they played very well. We were mostly in our back seat and failed to protect the goal. We never created a lot of chances in the first half. Come the second half as we were 1-0 down, I told the boys that it is never over until it is over and that we have to go in and fight and equalize and win the game.”
Our youngsters will now look to kickstart their Nyasa Capital Finance Cup title defence with an encounter against Zingwangwa United next weekend at the Mpira Stadium.
How we lined up
XI| Austin Chirambo, Happy Mphepo, Mussah Bwanali, Gift Jossam, Raphick Bahati, Andrew Lameck ©, Francis Malikebu, Oscar Petro, Wongani Kaponya, Chrispin Mapemba, Gift Lamowa.
Used Subs| Macray Chiwaya, Lyton Chinong’one.