Match preview: Bullets vs Civil


FCB Nyasa Big Bullets return to TNM Super League action with a clash against Civil Service United in a midweek fixture at Kamuzu Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

The defending champions anticipate a tough battle in the hunt for all the points at home to reclaim the top position after surrendering it to rivals Mighty Mukuru Wanderers.

For two weeks, Bullets were exempted from domestic fixtures following our involvement in the CAF Champions League.

Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges come into this game on the back of a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Equatorial Guinea’s Dragon FC to book themselves a place in the second preliminary round of Africa’s biggest club competition with a 3-0 aggregate in the two-legged tie.

Wednesday afternoon’s opponents are also coming into this fixture from a positive outing following their 1-0 triumph over Kamuzu Barracks a fortnight ago.

Form Guide

Bullets go into this fixture on the background of a CAF Champions League success, having eliminated the Equatorial Guinea champions to book a place in the second qualifying round where they will face TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo next month.

This was the first time for the Malawi champions to advance to the second round since 2015, having failed to do so in the last four attempts.

But before beating Dragon FC, Maule had to rely on penalties to beat Extreme FC 4-2 to advance into the semifinals of the 2023 FDH Bank Cup, before proceeding to Dwangwa where we registered a goalless draw against Mafco FC.

Our previous TNM Super League match was played at Kamuzu Stadium where we hammered Extreme FC 3-0 to move to the top of the summit before being dislodged by Wanderers following their 1-0 win over Mafco FC on Sunday.

Bullets remain unbeaten at Kamuzu Stadium, and our overall performance this season has seen us scoring 31 goals, the only highest-scoring team in the 16-team standings.

In the last three games in all the competitions, Pasuwa’s men have scored six goals from which they have kept three clean sheets.

But on Wednesday we are meeting a side that has recently turned out to be a nightmare for the league champions.

In the last three meetings, Bullets has had one victory only, beating Civil 1-0 at Civo Stadium in the first round of the 2022 season before drawing 1-1 at Kamuzu Stadium in the reverse fixture.

In the first round of the current campaign, Bullets had to stage a second-half comeback to salvage a point courtesy of a brilliant strike from Patrick Mwaungulu.

The Servants are currently sitting in the 9th position with 24 points and they will be aiming to move up the standings with a historic win over the side that for the last 12 months has not lost a league match at home.


The last time the two sides met, the match ended in a 1-all draw. Striker Binwell Katinji found himself on the scoresheet in the first half before Mwaungulu’s leveller early in the final period.

Going into Wednesday’s match, The People’s Team has a better record against the visitors and this record ranges from the past decade in which Oscar Kaunda’s side has never beaten Bullets in league assignments regardless of where they meet.

In the last 15 meetings between the two teams, it’s only in the 2017, 2022 and 2023 seasons that Civil got three points over Bullets after sharing the spoils in the first and second rounds of those terms.

In 2014, Bullets hammered the Servants 1-3 at Civo before doing a double with a 2-0 home victory at Kamuzu Stadium in the reverse fixture.

The following season, The People’s Team continued their dominance with yet another 3-1 first-round win at Civo, before recording a 2-1 victory at Kamuzu Stadium in the final fixture of that campaign.

In 2016 Bullets collected all the six points after recording 1-0 and 2-0 victories over Wednesday’s opposition.

In 2017, the first-round tie ended goalless at Civo Stadium, but the Servants got hammered 3-0 at Kamuzu Stadium in the second-round meeting.

We continued getting the better of Civil when we registered back-to-back 2-1 wins over the capital city side in the 2018 season to claim yet another double.

In the 2019 campaign, Civil received a heavy beating for the first time in more than a decade when Pasuwa’s charges ran riot at Kamuzu Stadium to register a massive 6-0 victory. Bullets went ahead to claim a double in the second round with a last-minute goal through former striker, Chiukepo Msowoya, a strike that saw Bullets inching closer to the league title, which was indeed won by Pasuwa’s side.

Bullets registered back-to-back 2-1 victories over the Servants in the 2020/21 season when we won our third successive league title.

But last season, we got four out of the possible six points following a 1-0 win at Civo before the spoils were shared with a 1-all stalemate at Kamuzu Stadium in the reverse fixture, then another 1-1 draw at Civo Stadium in the first round of this 2023 campaign.

In the last meetings, Bullets have scored 34 goals past Civil, with the opposition finding the back of the net nine times against The People’s Team.

The highest-scoring match between the two sides was the 6-0 hammering of Civil in the 2019 season.

However, this Wednesday’s showdown will not be determined by previous records, but rather the ability to convert chances into goals as Civil will come hard in search of their first win over Bullets since 2015 when they defeated us 2-1 in the Standard Bank Cup semifinal match at Kamuzu Stadium.

Team News

Bullets will be without left-back Eric Kaonga, who has joined Mike Mkwate, Stanley Billiat, Alick Lungu, Precious Sambani and Hassan Kajoke on the injury list, but the rest of the players who travelled to Lilongwe for the CAF Champions League tie are available for selection.

Of the six injured players, only Kajoke is expected to be fully fit after the international break as he is now working on his fitness after spending some weeks on the sidelines due to the deep cut suffered during our draw against Mafco away at Chitowe.

The striker is expected to resume full training next week as he is expected to finish his rehabilitation this week.

Pasuwa might also welcome back Peter Banda on Wednesday afternoon after the midfielder rejoined Bullets from Tanzanian Simba SC on a contract that will see him playing for Maule until the end of this season.

The 2019 TNM Super League Player of the Season has been cleared to play for his childhood club again after getting the International Transfer Clearance on Tuesday evening.

Pasuwa on the midweek fixture

“[It’s] very challenging indeed [for us] to play this game. I am sorry to say this, but again, playing [in the CAF] Champions League is like a crime now where at the end of the day, people are trying to fix us, which is not okay on our side. We have been complaining of injuries in the team due to this frequent travelling.

“We know we travel but they should also consider the health of the players when fixing these games. They need to consider the recovery part of these guys because we played on Sunday, travelled back to Blantyre, rested on Monday and we only trained on Tuesday. We were supposed to rest these players so that when playing the next game, it wouldn’t be a problem. Yes, we will play, but we will be affected by injuries and fatigue and this will result in losing more players.

“If you can see, we end up losing players in crucial positions and it’s really affecting us. This fixture of playing on Wednesday yet we don’t have any game over the weekend is strange. We should have even played on Thursday so that the players could recover. This is very difficult for one to plan.

“And coming to our squad, the last person to get injured was Eric Kaonga, but the rest of the players are available for selection, once again, I am concerned about their fitness levels because we only did a recovery training session where they can hide their injuries from me.

“We can’t do anything; we have to fulfil this fixture and we have talked to them mentally so that they are ready for whatever is coming. We have moved on from our Champions League victory and the focus is on the local games where we need to do more in terms of how we are playing. The only problem is that we are loading them too much with information where we play with structure in the Champions League and man-to-man type of football when playing local games.”

The head coach on facing Civil

“We need to put everything aside and concentrate on Civil. We are facing one of the best teams in Malawi. We have played them so many times and if you can take a look at the previous games, they are very tactically, good on both ends. And one team that will be clinical in the offensive zones [on Wednesday] will carry the day.”

How to follow the game

You can catch all the match updates on our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Match officials

After handling our encounter against Extreme FC on 13 August, referee Mayamiko Kanjere returns to officiate our next match, his third consecutive TNM Super League game for Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium this season after being in charge of the 3-0 home win over Blue Eagles on 9 July.

Referee: Mayamiko Kanjere

Assistant Referee 1: Happiness Mbandambanda

Assistant Referee 2: Mark Thunyani

Fourth Official: Benson Subili

Match Assessor: Fanny Minandi

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