Bullets Women bow out of FAM National Championship


FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Women’s title defence of the FAM National Women’s Championship came to an end on Saturday when they lost 3-5 on post-match penalties to Ascent Academy at Mpira Stadium.

The semi-final tie was decided through spot kicks following a goalless draw in normal time.

What happened

Our women’s team went into the match coming from a four-game unbeaten streak to finish top of their Group A table to face a side that finished second in Group B.

Maggie Chombo’s side started on the back foot as the girls failed to complete passes to transition against a team that looked organized building from the back.

The visitors however found it difficult to penetrate our defence that resorted to long high balls to get out of the defensive half.

Despite our rivals looking more organized, Bullets Women should have opened the scoring in the early minutes through Zainab Kapanda, unfortunately, the forward was caught offside.

On the other end, the opponents nearly found the back of the net in the 10th minute through Marriam Mnenula’s strike, fortunately, our women survived the scare as Bernadette Mkandawile cleared the ball before it crossed the line.

Bullets looked settled going towards the half-hour mark and our left-back Chimwemwe Sapangwa came close in the 33rd minute when she shot just outside the 18-yard area, only to see her hard-earned attempt on top of the crossbar.

Vanessa Chikupila nearly gave the home fans hope the following minute when she dribbled past her rivals with speed only for her run to be stopped by the referee’s call for offside.

In the closing minute of the first half, the forward almost had the ball into the net from a free kick, unfortunately, she had to watch her effort ferrying over the crossbar ending the opening period without goals.

The second half started with an attempt from Atuwemi Njuwima of Ascent who had a scoring opportunity only for Mkandawile to deny the visitors again.

Pililani Malora had a chance in the 51st minute when she struck from outside the area only for her shot to end in Patricia Kachepa’s palms.

The visitors started the day’s substitutions when Thom Nkolongo replaced Catherine Gaudi for Maureen Kenneth in the 53rd minute.

What a hard game to watch for the red women when Njiuma had on target just outside the penalty area, luckily for us, her promising shot was stopped by Banda.

Bullets made a change as Chombo introduced Mary Chavinda and withdrew Tendai Sani in the 63rd minute and the forward nearly made an impact soon after coming on as she was released outside the area, unfortunately, she was slow to pounce as the opposition’s ‘keeper collected the ball to deny her a golden opportunity.

Ascent made another substitution as Njiuma was taken out for Talandila Chinyamula in the 75th minute.

The two teams pushed for a goal to break the deadlock but at the end of 90 minutes it was still goalless and the tie had to be decided by post-match penalties, a repeat of what happened last season when Bullets defeated Ascent through spot kicks.

Jossam denied

Unfortunately, this campaign had to come to an end for our women’s team as captain Emily Jossam had her spot kick saved by Kachepa, while Chikupila, Pililani Malora and Lyna James managed to convert their penalties. The visitors converted all their spot kicks to reach the final of the 2023 FAM National Women’s Championship and they will face Ntopwa who beat DD Sunshine in the second semi-final tie.

Chombo reacts to the defeat

Our women’s team head coach had this to say in the post-match interview: “Like I already said, everything is possible in football. Last year we won with the same penalties, but this time, one of our players failed to score, and that’s football. It was a 50-50 game. I am still proud of how the ladies have played and I wish the very best to Ascent as they continue to the final round.”

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