Nyasa Big Bullets will look to strengthen their position at the top of the TNM Super League standings when they host Chitipa United at Kamuzu Stadium this afternoon.
Bullets have a three-point lead over second-placed Silver Strikers with five games remaining in the current campaign.
The People’s Team remains unbeaten at home in the league this season, having claimed eight wins and will be hoping to maintain their perfect home record in their quest for the title defence.
Kalisto Pasuwa’s men recovered from their Northern Region frustrating showing when they defeated Red Lions on Thursday to open a three point gap over Silver, with both teams playing 25 matches.
Despite collecting full points in Thursday’s fixture, through Hassan Kajoke’s second-half spot kick, Pasuwa admitted his charges were far from impressive. He was quick however to say a win was what The People’s Team needed to bring back the confidence after dropping five points away in Mzuzu.
Playing ten games within a period of two weeks has led to the Bullets coach rotating his players in order to withstand the heat.
“In the current situation, we need to adapt to the congested fixtures and that’s the reason why we rested some guys in Mzuzu by using players who haven’t been active this season so that we can withstand the heat, unfortunately they didn’t fare well and that’s one of the areas where we wanted to have depth,” he told club media during the week ahead of Sunday’s tie.
“We have got players like Chimwemwe Idana and Gomezgani Chirwa who are always been impressive, but against Red Lions they were flat because of the tiredness of the legs, but we have tried to talk to the guys to get the best out of them for us to keep collecting points in the remaining games and defend the league”.
Facing Chitipa this afternoon Bullets will have to continue from where they stopped in the first round as they beat the Northern Region side 0-2 through Kajoke and Mike Mkwate’s goals at Karonga Stadium.
Pasuwa has nonetheless warned his boys not to underestimate the relegation threatened side, which lost to Mighty Tigers 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday, saying Sunday’s match will be very difficult.
“One thing for sure, any team playing against Bullets this time around always give us a tough run. I don’t even know where they get the energy from, but it’s a challenge for the players to perform regardless of the circumstances.
“As Bullets, when looking for players, we need players who don’t perform when playing Wanderers or Bullets only but a player who can perform against other teams as well. We need to raise up the tempo of our training sessions in order to match the type of games that we play. “Every game that we play is a final game to us so on Chitipa I am anticipating a very tough game and we mustn’t relax because we are playing at home, we will celebrate after the end of the game,” stated Pasuwa.
A win on Sunday will take Bullets’ tally to 55 points and will remain with four games to wind up the season.
It will also be the second time for the two teams to meet at Kamuzu Stadium, with the visitors causing an upset in the 2019 season when they came from behind to draw 2-2.
Sankhani Mkandawire is the only fresh candidate on the sidelines after suffering an injury during our trip to Moyale Barracks last weekend, but this should not be a cause for worry as Pasuwa has other central defensive options in Blessings Mpokera, Nickson Nyasulu and Miracle Gabeya.
Despite Pasuwa’s squad rotation policy, we should not expect the Zimbabwean to make a lot of changes to Thursday’s starting XI.
At home Pasuwa’s men won 2-1 against Silver Strikers at Kamuzu Stadium a fortnight ago, before departing for CECAFA Kagame Cup tournament in Tanzania and have played four away matches in all competitions upon arriving from Dar es Salaam, registering two losses, one draw and a win.
Before the Tanzania trip, Bullets’ second-round stats saw them winning five successive games before dropping points to Moyale and Mzuzu Warriors, then a narrow win over Red Lions.
On the other hand, Chitipa United, currently third from the bottom of the table with 26 points from 27 games, have only collected three points in five games and are coming into this afternoon’s game from a 1-0 defeat to Tigers.
Bullets vs Chitipa will kick off at 14:30 p.m.