Nyasa Big Bullets return to action this afternoon as they take on Atlabara FC in their Group A game of the CECAFA Kagame Cup at Azam Complex in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Bullets are second in Group A with two points from two matches and will be facing a side that is bottom of the table. The South Sudanese champions have a point from the same number of games.
Despite today’s encounter being a must-win for The People’s Team to secure a spot in the semi-final stage of the competition, a draw will see Bullets qualifying for the semis if top-placed Ugandan side Express FC beat Tanzanian Young Africans.
Yanga are third in the group with the same number of points as Bullets, but the TNM Super League champions have a better goal difference, having scored two goals in the tourney against the Tanzanian side’s one.
Bullets drew 1-all against Yanga in the opening match of the competition, before they shared the spoils in another 1-1 draw against Express, who have four points.
Assistant coach Peter Mponda has all 20 players he traveled with available for selection and is expected to make a few changes to the side that drew against Express on Wednesday.
Goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda is expected back between the posts after being rested in the second match in favour of Ernest Kakhobwe. Veteran defender Sankhani Mkandawire will also make a return in the starting XI while Hassan Kajoke is also set to start upfront.
Mponda told club media ahead of the match:
“We know how good Atlabara is. This is a tournament involving best of the best [from the participating countries]. We have watched them play twice, the first game they lost 1-0 to Express [and] the second game they drew with Yanga, they improved from their performance of the first game [and] they really have good players. We will take the game to their half like we have been doing the past games whereby we dominated, we were creating chances unfortunately we were not scoring enough from those chances.
“But also the past two games we conceded early and to me is a letdown to the team because the way we’re scoring if we’re first to score I’m sure we can score two, three or four goals and win comfortably, but once we concede we start playing under pressure, which is not good; I want the boys to be playing with freedom, so we have tried to talk to them because it’s not about the other creating chances to score against us but we’ve been giving them the goals. I believe from the two games the boys have learnt from those mistakes and they know the importance of this game”.
The game kicks off at 3:00 p.m. Malawian time and 4:00 p.m. East African Time and will be live on Azam TV.