Nyasa Big Bullets will be looking to maintain the seven-year unbeaten home record when they host Red Lions FC in the TNM Super League at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The defending champions come up against a side enjoying a better start than what they endured in the 2018 season when they were relegated to the lower league, before earning a slot back into the top tier.
Kalisto Pasuwa has warned his charges not to underestimate the soldiers of Zomba, saying gone are the days of winning without a fight just because they are Bullets.
“They are currently doing well and we also need to be at our best in order for us to collect points. Gone are the days of saying we are Bullets and we can win games without even fighting. We need to fight in order for us to take up points,” said the head coach this week.
Bullets are coming from the Northern Region where they suffered the first loss of the season 0-1 to Karonga United last Saturday, before recording a 0-2 victory over Chitipa United on Sunday.
The last time the two teams met was in 2018 away at Balaka Stadium where The People’s Team recorded a 0-3 win and in the process, hammered a final nail on Red Lions’ coffin as they got relegated to the Premier Division.
It has been a mixed start to the season for the defending champions who shared the spoils with Blue Eagles on the opening day of the season at home following a 0-0 draw, before dropping three more points in the North.
But Pasuwa believes his side is now coming up, despite declaring that it is too early to be talking about the title defense.
“It’s too early to start talking about defending the title. All these teams were idle for nine months and after playing three games, you cannot judge that this one can be a good player.
“I can tell you right now that the soccer star of the year is still home, you haven’t even seen him, maybe he will come and perform, but we are saying it’s too early for us to commend that this is the team that will represent us this season, we are still working on it and we will come out good,” explained the Zimbabwean tactician.
“Creativity is linked to the chances that you are able to create in different positions around the box or the final third. We are working on different aspects that we have to improve certainly,” he said.
Pasuwa will be without several players as some are still nursing injuries, while others have not made the cut in the 20-member squad, including Precious Phiri, Gift Jana, Bright Munthali, Chiukepo Msowoya, Misheck Seleman and Patrick Phiri.
On the injury list Pasuwa has added Pilirani Zonda, who played both matches in Karonga, but is out for selection for Sunday’s match due to a groin injury. Sankhani Mkandawire, who missed the trip to the North is also out due to an injury, while Chimango Kayira and Righteous Banda are still on the sidelines as they undergo rehabilitation due to knee injuries.
While John Lanjesi has been training with the rest of the squad, Pasuwa does not want to rush his captain who has been out for close to 20 months after sustaining a knee injury early in the 2019 season.
Bullets will also be without goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda, who lost his grandfather this week, which gives Pasuwa only two options in the goalkeeping area against Red Lions.
But the good news is that left-footed midfielder/attacker, Dalitso Sailesi, who was left at home last week, is fully fit and available for selection on Sunday.
The match against Red Lions will kick off at 14:30PM.