Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves arrived in Mchinji on Saturday for tomorrow’s semi-final tie against Kamuzu Barracks Youth in the Aubrey Dimba Trophy.
The young Bullets will face the Lilongwe-based side at the Aubrey Dimba Ground as they eye a fourth silverware in the 2021 season.
They go into the semi-final match of the competition after completing a treble this term, following a 0-3 win over The Boyz in the Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) League’s Nyasa Capital Finance Cup final six days ago.
This is Bullets Reserves’ third visit to Mchinji for the Aubrey Dimba Trophy after seeing off St. Gabriel’s Medicals 2-1 in the Round of 16, courtesy of strikes from Franklin Mlimanjira and Emmanuel Savieli, before eliminating Extreme FC 1-0 through Stanley Billiat’s goal from the spot in the quarter-final stage in November.
Enos Chatama has travelled to the west-central district without some of his regular players, including first-choice goalkeeper Clever Mkungula, defender-cum-holding midfielder Innocent Msowoya and forward Stanley Billiat.
Mkungula is part of the Malawi national team standby squad for the upcoming 2021 TotalEnergies Africa Cup of Nations slated for Cameroon next month, while Msowoya and Billiat are unavailable due to injuries.
Besides the three starting XI players, Chatama will also be without midfielders Thomson Magombo and Mcray Chiwaya as well as forward Alex Tsamba, who has been out for over a month now due to injury.
Speaking to club media after the team finished its final training session at the Aubrey Dimba Ground on Saturday afternoon, Chatama believes he has enough arsenal to register a win and progress to the final.
“I believe in the players I have traveled with. I always believe in unity and whosoever dawns our colors on Sunday will definitely deliver for the team. Of course we will miss the services of those who have been left behind, but we have got players capable of delivering and book a place in the final,” assured Chatama.
He added: “If you have observed, ever since we started coming here we have never traveled with a full squad because of either injuries or national team engagements, but we have always performed and that’s exactly what we are here for. We want to play and win and then progress to the final stage of the competition.”
About Sunday’s opponents
Bullets Reserves, a side that has been dominating the SRFA League, sweeping all cups, was for the first time invited this year to participate in a competition in the central part of Malawi.
Apart from Central Region Football Association League teams, the Aubrey Dimba Trophy also included teams from the Northern Region Football Association League, which were eliminated.
Sunday’s clash will be the first ever meeting between the young Bullets and Kamuzu Barracks Youth and Chatama knows how difficult it is to play a new side. He is however very optimistic that getting a result over their opponents is a possibility.
“It’s always difficult to play an opponent you have never faced before, but that’s expected in football because there is no way you can be playing familiar opponents each and every time and that’s why we are eager to play them, get to know them and learn something from them. But what we want is a positive result, which is very possible looking at how we have been performing in previous games,” said Chatama.
The winner between Bullets Reserves and Kamuzu Barracks Youth will play Silver Strikers Reserves in the final.
This season, Bullets Reserves have already won the PowerTex Top 8 Cup, ThumbsUp SRFA League and the Nyasa Capital Finance Cup.
The junior side’s superb performance this season saw Malawi technical director, Mario Marinica, handing first national team call ups to Mkungula, Msowoya and David Daud, before the two midfielders were released as the goalkeeper is still in camp on standby.