Nyasa Big Bullets are back home and this afternoon welcome Ekwendeni Hammers in the TNM Super League at Kamuzu Stadium.
It’s back to business for Kalisto Pasuwa’s side as it looks to bounce back after dropping two points in a goalless draw away to TN Stars in Kasungu on Sunday.
Bullets, who have not lost at home in the ongoing season and have an eight-year unbeaten run at the country’s oldest arena, are looking for nothing but a win to close the gap with the current log leaders Silver Strikers.
The Bankers are top with 38 points from 16 games and are this afternoon facing a side that frustrated the defending champions in the last outing at Kasungu Stadium.
Second in the standings with 33 points from 17 games, Bullets are seven points behind Saturday’s opponents, but have played a game more than the visitors.
The two sides last met in April at Mzuzu Stadium from which Bullets scored in the 90th minute to grab all the points with a hard-fought 0-1 win under very difficult circumstances with the match being played on a muddy pitch following days of rains in Mzuzu.
The result of this afternoon’s fixture at the Kamuzu Stadium will have some bearing in the title race as the 2020/21 season is now in the final round.
Head coach Kalisto Pasuwa this week warned his players not to underrate the visitors, whom he described as one of the best performing teams in the current season.
Both sides will have the luxury to call upon any of their fit players, with neither camp spotting suspended squad members ahead of the clash.
Pasuwa is having the majority of his players back from injuries. This week he welcomed back Lanjesi Nkhoma and Dalitso Sailesi, who have been on the sidelines for weeks due to foot and ankle injuries, respectively.
Nkhoma is part of the squad for this afternoon’s match, which also includes new signing, central midfielder Paul Kansungwi, giving Pasuwa more options in number 8 and 10 positions where he has been using Mike Mkwate or Ernest Petro.
Goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda is now looking fully fit to be considered for selection as he has been part of the match day squad starting last weekend away in Kasungu where Pasuwa had travelled with three goalkeepers including current first-choice custodian, Richard Chimbamba, as well as Bullets Reserves graduate Clever Mkungula, who has been replaced by Chiyenda for the home game as the gaffer has picked two ‘keepers.
Bullets leading striker, Zicco Mkanda, who was forced to the terraces against TN Stars on Sunday after picking a knock in the 0-1 victory over Blue Eagles 24 hours earlier is fit and available for selection this afternoon.
For the visitors, former BE Forward Wanderers defender Harry Nyirenda, who now captains Ekwendeni, as well as Bullets former midfielder Eneya Banda are some of the players to watch as they return to Kamuzu Stadium with their new side, which also has exciting talent such as skipper Eric Kaonga, holding midfielder Patrick Banda and their hitman Clever Kaira.
Since the resumption of the league in April, following its suspension in January due to Covid-19, Bullets have recorded six wins, three draws and one defeat, scoring fifteen goals and conceding three.
The People’s Team will be going into the match this afternoon after collecting four points from a win and a draw away in the central region in Matchweek 16.
And the Northern Region outfit’s performance in their debut season has been outstanding to the extent of registering important wins at home and away, taking them to the top three in the standings.
Despite their defeat at the hands of Bullets in their first ever meeting, Ekwendeni Hammers should draw confidence from their recent form where they have collected four points in two games, finding the net three times.
Today’s match kicks off at 14:30.