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Bullets Youth beat Wanderers to win Africa Herbal Mix Cup


FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Youth were crowned champions of the 2023 Africa Herbal Mix U-19 Cup after beating rivals Ekhaya Mighty Wanderers Youth at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The final attracted a good crowd as fans from both the red and blue sides of the city came to watch the youngsters battle for bragging rights in the mini-Blantyre derby.

Autry Kalulu was yet to deliver a trophy as a coach for the young Bullets, having lost to Ndirande Stars in the Manchester Motor Mechanical Center Under-20 Cup last year and made sure all was well when Kondwani Tebulo scored the only goal from the spot to bring the trophy home.

Wanderers Youth started the match very well, controlling possession and attacking from all angles, but Bullets Youth defended with everything and caught their opponents on counterattacks.

Kalulu’s charges had plenty of chances through Hellings Mhango, Matamando Mwachipitsa and Henzie Manganyera, but slotting the ball past Alinafe Khalani in goal for the hosts proved to be a very difficult task for the visitors.

Thrice, within ten minutes, Khalani denied Bullets Youth from scoring after he produced some stunning saves to the satisfaction of his coach Joseph Kamwendo.

In the 19th minute, Mhango, a brother to our former striker Gabadinho Mhango, was set through by Manganyera to the far left, did everything right by rounding off the shot-stopper only to be denied by a last-minute clearance from Yankho Phiri.

But Wanderers’ resilience was put on hold in the 22nd minute when Joseph Madikila brought down Manganyera in the penalty area and Tebulo stepped up to convert from the spot to give Bullets a lead, 0-1.

Young Maule kept on pushing for more goals, and they should have doubled their lead in the 32nd minute when Manganyera got the better of three Wanderers defenders, but his weaker shot was easily saved by Khalani.

Kamwendo’s boys had a chance to pull level in the 38th minute when Steve Palemeza Junior was found unmarked on the edge of the six-yard area, but his shot was excellently saved by Sharifu Swadiki.

In the second period, our lads should have had a goal early in the half when Mwachipitsa made an excellent run to his left before sending an excellent pass to Mhango, who failed to tap in from close range when Khalani was already beaten in the line of duty.

It was a tense match as thousands of supporters from the two teams made noise throughout the match, a clear indication that they were satisfied with what they were watching from the youngsters.

Swadiki was also called into action in the 48th minute to cut short a dangerous delivery from Palemeza into the box, destined to find Dumi Yusuf, who was ready to pull the trigger for Wanderers.

At the other end, Khalani was at it again, this time around, denying Mwachipitsa from doubling our lead when the skilled winger released a thunderous shot outside the penalty area, only to be denied by the goalkeeper.

In the 60th minute, Palemeza Junior and Yusuf combined well to find Aubrey Manyengo in a one-on-one situation with Swadiki, but once again, our young shot-stopper came out top with a brilliant save.

Wanderers Youth was knocking at our door, and they nearly levelled in the 72nd minute when Manyengo rounded off Swadiki before his attempt was blocked by Nabil Kazembe, who was very outstanding in defence for Kalulu’s side.

Bullets Youth then caught their opposition on the break and launched a counterattack through Manganyera, but he was quick to shoot, resulting in a weaker shot that was saved by Khalani.

The hosts almost found the equalizer in the additional minutes of the match, but Swadiki kept his goal tight with excellent saves to inspire our Bullets Youth to a hard-fought 0-1 victory over our neighbours.

Swadiki was named Man of the Match.

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