TNM Super League football is back after it was suspended in January due to Covid-19 and defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets this afternoon face Mzuzu Warriors at Kamuzu Stadium before the next match against Mighty Tigers on Monday.
Facing The Green Warriors in the first match from the break, Kalisto Pasuwa will be looking to bounce back from that 1-1 draw to Ntopwa FC before the league was halted by the Super League of Malawi due to restrictions imposed by Government.
The defending champions will be looking forward to closing the gap between themselves and the top four teams. Bullets are currently eighth on the 16-team standings with 12 points from seven games and the head coach Pasuwa believes his boys are more focused and eager to push to move out of the unfamiliar position.
The head coach, who is very familiar with Saturday’s opponent, however expects a very tough encounter, recalling last season’s home game against The Green Warriors of Mzuzu, which needed a last minute goal from midfielder Chimwemwe Idana to collect maximum points with a 3-2 margin.
Although the 13th-placed northern region side – formerly Mzuzu University FC – have never beaten The People’s Team at any venue since their promotion into the top flight in 2016, Warriors are expected to come to Kamuzu Stadium oozing with confidence after collecting three points against Red Lions following a 0-1 victory over Red Lions at Mpira Stadium in Chiwembe on Friday.
The visitors, who have former Bullets forward Collen Nkhulambe in their squad and came off the bench against Red Lions yesterday, have eight points from eight games.
Pasuwa this week welcomed back four of his players; Precious Sambani, Nickson Nyasulu, Chimango Kayira and Chimwemwe Idana, who were with the Malawi national team during the international break as the Flames qualified for the 2022 AFCON Finals in Cameroun.
Ernest Kakhobwe is yet to join the rest of the team due to illness after manning the posts during Malawi’s 0-1 and 1-0 victories to South Sudan a week ago and at home against Uganda on Monday, respectively.
Back in the match day squad are skipper John Lanjesi and Ben Manyozo, who have been out for a while due to injuries.
However, Pasuwa will be without last season’s club top scorer Hassan Kajoke, who is nursing an injury he sustained during two weeks ago.
Righteous Banda, Aziz Mwakifuna, Pilirani Zonda and Henry Kabichi are also out due to injuries, whilst Dalitso Sailesi and Nelson Kangunje have been out in quarantine after testing positive for Covid-19 two weeks ago.
Goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda will likely be on the bench as he has been nursing a minor finger injury, hence Richard Chimbamba and Clever Mkungula, who has been promoted from Bullets Reserve, will be first-choice options in goals.
Other new faces available for selection for this afternoon’s clash are three additional youngsters that have graduated from the junior side to the first team, including defender Blessings Mpokera as well as strikers/wingers Stanley Billiat and Lanjesi Nkhoma.
Pasuwa on Thursday shared his thoughts about the newly-promoted lads: “We are coaches who are here to give chances to upcoming talent. We have exceptional talent in Blessings, Lanjesi and Billiat. We will keep doing this in order to ensure that there is a proper transition between the youngsters and the players who are already in the main team.”
HOW YOU CAN FOLLOW THE MATCH
Due to the same Covid-19 restrictions, the games on Friday resumed without spectators, and supporters across Malawi can watch our two games against Mzuzu Warriors this afternoon and Mighty Tigers on Monday on Mpira TV available on Kiliye Kiliye channel 122.
Kick-off time is 14:30pm.