Match Preview: Bullets vs MAFCO

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Nyasa Big Bullets have the TNM Super League to focus on after exiting the FDH Bank Cup and CAF Champions League.

The People’s Team will on Wednesday host MAFCO FC, 96 hours after suffering a 1-3 defeat to South Africa’s AmaZulu FC and exactly a month after losing to Silver Strikers in the FDH Bank Cup quarter-final.

Bullets, sitting atop the Super League table with 55 points and have a game in hand against second-placed Silver, will be looking to bounce back against MAFCO and collect maximum points in the quest to defend the title for a third consecutive year.

Early Team News & Injuries

Forward Babatunde Adepoju, who was featured in both legs of the Champions League, is expected to be handed his domestic league debut after being cleared by the Super League of Malawi and his former team Mighty Wanderers after joining Bullets in July.

The People’s Team also received good news on Sunday night when striker Hassan Kajoke was cleared to play after the club successfully appealed the red card he received against Chitipa United last month.

Yamikani Fodya, who missed Saturday’s tie against AmaZulu due to a red card he picked during the first leg away in Durban, will be available for selection for Wednesday’s Super League clash against a side that forced Bullets to a goalless draw at Civo Stadium in the first round of this campaign.

Pasuwa is expected to make some changes facing MAFCO in the midweek fixture as some players picked up knocks prior and during the AmaZulu encounter.

Paul Kansungwi is on the sidelines as he is still nursing an ankle injury he picked during the team’s training session at the Lilongwe Golf Club two days before the Champions League match.

Sankhani Mkandawire and Gomegzani Chirwa are also out. The two defenders did not train on Monday and Tuesday due to tight hamstrings and illness, respectively, and Pasuwa has Nickson Nyasulu, Blessings Mpokera, Miracle Gabeya and Precious Phiri as options in the middle and right side of defence.

Importance of Wednesday’s encounter

Awin against the Salima soldiers will see Kalisto Pasuwa’s men opening a six point gap over the Central Bankers and closer to the title defence as Bullets remain with four games to wrap up the season. At this stage, The People’s Team needs two wins and a draw to clinch its 17th league title.

But Pasuwa warns his charges to avoid a repeat of mistakes encountered during their Champions League campaign.

“It’s a very crucial game that we are having on Wednesday. As you know, our hope was also on the Champions League to go to the next round, but it didn’t work out and we have now switched our attention to [the] Super League championship.

“We need to do more on small mistakes that we did during our Champions League exit last Sunday. We were failing to do some small basics that we need to correct in order for us to collect points in the remaining games.”

On playing a very physically side, Pasuwa said having more players is very important at this crucial stage of the season and believes his charges will rise to the occasion.

“We have got a big number of registered players, which is very important at this stage of the season. Of course we have some of them injured, but others were on the bench and didn’t play, so we will give those minutes to play against MAFCO FC on Wednesday.

“Last time we met we drew them 0-0 in a physical match and that’s why we need to adjust to such levels whenever playing these teams in order to come up with points,” he added.

The tactician was quick to remind his boys the importance of winning the remaining games, reiterating that beating MAFCO on Wednesday will be very crucial towards the title defence.

“Every game is very important. We have been dropping points especially when we travel away from home. Recently we went to Mzuzu where we dropped five points and I am telling the boys that we cannot afford to drop points further as you know it’s very tight at the top, we need to do our part and win games and see how the season ends.”

Form Guide

Bullets are heading into this match in the aftermath of their Champions League exit, but won their last two league games played at Kamuzu Stadium.

Their home unbeaten run in the domestic league is what will be crucial in the remaining three home games.

On the other hand, MAFCO were in Blantyre a fortnight ago where they collected four out of the possible six points following a draw with Mighty Tigers and a win over Red Lions.

However, the Salima based soldiers, who are in sixth position with 41 points from 28 games, have never registered any victory over Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium in more than a decade.

The two sides played out a goalless draw in the first round of this campaign.

Kick-off time is 14:30 p.m. with a limited number of fans as attendance is restricted to 250 people as per Covid-19 regulations.

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