Nyasa Big Bullets are on the trail of the first silverware this season when they face Ugandan Express FC in the CECAFA Kagame Cup 2021 final on Saturday at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Taking part for the first time as guests, The People’s Team on Wednesday made a historic penalty shootout win against Azam FC of Tanzania to reach the final stage of the inter-club competition which had eight teams drawn from the host country Tanzania, Zanzibar, Burundi, South Sudan, Uganda and Malawi.
Victory for the TNM Super League champions over Express tomorrow would produce the first ever regional trophy not only for The People’s Team but for Malawian clubs.
Bullets and Express will square off against one another for the second time at the tournament following their Group A 1-all draw in the group stages of the tourney nine days ago.
Road to the Final
The People’s Team registered a 1-1 draw against Young Africans of Tanzania in the opening match of the CECAFA Kagame Cup 2021 on August 1, before sharing the points against Express then went on to beat South Sudanese side Atlabara FC to finish second of Group A and book a semi-final spot against Azam who finished first in Group B.
To reach the final, Express FC defeated KMKM of Zanzibar in the semis after finishing first in Group A. They beat Atlabara 1-0, drew 1-1 against Bullets, before registering a 1-3 victory against Yanga in the group stages.
Coach Peter Mponda has one injury worry ahead of tomorrow’s clash following experienced defender Sankhani Mkandawire’s groin strain that led to him being stretchered off in the second half of Wednesday semi-final tie against Azam.
“The team doctor is still assessing him, he has been working with him on the sides. [Of course] we don’t have much time for him to recover fully, but the doc is on top of things and we’re hoping for positive news for us to have him ready for the final, a very important game and he’s a very important of the team,” – Mponda on Mkandawire.
The team will also be without forward Chiukepo Msowoya, who traveled back to Malawi to attend the burial of his mother, who passed on Friday morning in Karonga.
Msowoya scored two goals for Bullets at the tournament and this is what the assistant coach said about his absence:
“It’s a very big miss to the team. He is a very big player and a big influence in the dressing room and on the pitch, but going back to Malawi to pay his last respects to his mom is a very important thing for us and for the team. We believe that the team will do everything to win it for him.”
About the Opposition
“Talking about Express FC, I said last time when we played them that they’re a very good team, very organized, very physical; we played a 1-1 draw with them in the group stages. It was a very difficult match for us, trailing in the early minutes 1-0 and the response from the boys was very good, we came back stronger into the game.
“I don’t think we will repeat the same mistakes of conceding early and starting fighting for an equalizer and win; we will try to go them, get an early goal to unsettle them and start playing our normal game. Apart from that the lads are raring to go, they are feeling it, and as technical we’re also feeling it, we know that it’s a very important game for us not only as Nyasa Big Bullets but for us as a country.”
The game will kick-off at 6:00 p.m. Malawian time and 7:00 p.m. East African Time. It will be beamed on Azam TV.
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