Bullets look to bounce back against Red Lions

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Nyasa Big Bullets will look to bounce back from a disappointing Northern Region outing when they travel to Mpira Stadium for TNM Super League action against Red Lions on Thursday afternoon.

On Saturday, the defending champions suffered an agonising 1-0 defeat to Moyale Barracks before a goalless draw against relegation bound Mzuzu Warriors 24 hours later.

The trip up North saw Bullets failing to open an eight point gap with second placed Silver Strikers, who registered back to back defeats when Bullets were in Tanzania for the CECAFA Kagame Cup.

To return to winning ways, Kalisto Pasuwa realizes Bullets must engage an extra gear when facing the Zomba-based side.

“Every team that we are playing against come on us with high intensity. We only need to push more in terms of what we do. If you can see, we play against all the odds where we need to put much effort for us to collect points,” he said.

The tactician said the team’s poor showing in Mzuzu was a lesson learnt in a hard way, adding that he focused much on telling his players to move on from the disappointing results and focus on the remaining games, starting with the imminent fixture against the Zomba military side, to be played behind closed doors.

“This time around, we have learnt the hard way. We were in the Northern Region where we only managed a point out of six. It hasn’t been well for the boys. Most of them were down, but I have been trying to talk to them, to raise their spirits high.

“Yes, fatigue can be there but the moment you say ‘I am tired’ you will get tired for sure, so we need to keep on encouraging them in order for us to pick up the points on Thursday.”

When the two teams met in the first round, the match ended 3-3, with Bullets coming from behind despite taking an early lead through Hassan Kajoke at a rain soaked Kamuzu Stadium.

Pasuwa described Red Lions as a very physical side, but good when playing high balls.

“The last time we struggled a lot when rains started coming down and we were able to resume our normal play when the rains stopped, but it was too late to grab the winner. However we have been telling these boys to adapt to any venue when playing matches. It shouldn’t matter whether we are playing at a mountain or a bumpy surface because these are the facilities that we have in Malawi, so we need to quickly adapt in order for us to win points,” explained the head coach.

In the past week, Bullets played three games within five days and Pasuwa spoke about some knocks in the team.

“Knocks are there and glycogen has gone down in some of them who can’t even stand the heat, but we have been trying to put more fresh legs into the team in order for us to pick up the points.”

Bullets have welcomed back Chiukepo Msowoya who missed the CECAFA Kagame Cup final against Uganda’s Express FC, the FDH Bank Cup quarter-final loss to Silver Strikers as well as the trip to Mzuzu. The striker was mourning his mother who passed away a fortnight ago.

Misheck Seleman has also joined the matchday squad after missing the Tanzania, Lilongwe and Mzuzu trips after the midfielder had tested positive for Covid-19.

Unlike Bullets, the Zomba-based soldiers go into the match in the aftermath of their 2-0 victory over Civil Sporting Club at Mpira Stadium on August 15.

However, they are 10th in the standings with 34 points from 25 games and they have registered nine wins, seven draws and nine defeats from which they have scored 24 goals.

On the other hand, Bullets still lead the standings with 49 points from 24 games with 14 wins, seven draws and four losses from which 41 goals have been scored.

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