Hadji Wali punished his former team as Super League champions Nyasa Big Bullets defeated Silver Strikers 1-0 to win the NBS Bank Charity Shield on Saturday afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium.
The defender jumped high to head home the only goal of the match when he connected Patrick Mwaungulu’s corner kick from the left to hand The People’s Team a fifth Charity Shield in a row since its inception in 2016.
Kalisto Pasuwa handed starts to youngsters Patrick Mwaungulu, Kesten Simbi and Clever Mkungula, who have just been promoted from Bullets Reserves.
The Bankers started on a good note through Zebron Kalima, Chawanangwa Kaonga, Taonga Chimodzi and Patrick Macheso, but Bullets’ back four stood firm to protect goalkeeper Mkungula for the home team.
Daniel Kabwe’s side had their closest chance just before the half-hour mark when Innocent Shema’s cross found Chawanangwa Kaonga unmarked inside the six-yard box, but his overhead kick just missed the upright with an inch.
Bullets then settled down and they should have taken a lead in the 26th minute through Mwaungulu’s brilliant free kick, but Charles Thom was equal to the task when he made a fantastic save to deny the 19-year-old his first goal for the senior team.
Two minutes later Mwaungulu was at it again, bending the ball from another setpiece, but Thom once again came out top with another brilliant save.
But on 36th minute, Thom could not do anything to stop his ex-teammate’s powerful header to put The People’s Team in the lead, 1-0.
At the other end, Blessings Tembo decided to take things into his hands when he produced a thunderous shot which, Mkungula was able to handle to the relief of Pasuwa’s led technical panel.
With three minutes to go in the opening period, Kaonga thought he had the ball into the net, but his goal bound shot was deflected into the hands of Mkungula and that was all for the half.
In the second half, Bullets was the much improved side, with Chimwemwe Idana, Henry Kabichi and Mwaungulu all pressing for another goal, but Maxwell Paipi and Nixon Mwase were very outstanding in defence for the Bankers.
Mwaungulu nearly found Babatunde Adepoju in the attacking zone with a brilliant through ball, but Mwase came in the nick of time to keep his team in the match with a brilliant interception.
In the 50th minute, Idana set up Seleman on the left flank, but the winger’s shot went over the cross bar for a goal kick and that was his final involvement in the game as he was replaced by MaFallen Mgwira following an injury, with Mwaungulu paving way for Ernest Petro in central attacking midfield.
The Bankers also introduced Frank Banda and Duncan Nyoni for Stain Davie and Kalima as they tried to improve their attacking options.
In the 74th minute, Wali was caught napping in the line of duty when he was outpaced by Kaonga, who fired at goal but Mkungula produced a brilliant save to maintain Bullets’ lead.
In the 82nd minute, Maxwell Gasten came in for Macheso whilst Stanley Billiat replaced Lanjesi Nkhoma, who sustained an injury.
Billiat nearly made an impact when Mgwira’s cross found him unmarked, but his header was well saved by Thom to deny Bullets another goal.
With less than five minutes to go, Bullets almost doubled their lead in brilliant fashion when Petro used his pace to outsmart an advanced Thom, before sending the ball to Billiat, however the winger failed to put the ball into the net as it was cleared twice by Silver defenders before crossing the line.
This was costly and Bullets could have paid dearly when Gomezgani Chirwa brought down Gasten on the edge of the 18-yard box in the 87th minute.
Tembo stepped up and curved the ball over Bullets’ defensive wall, but it took Mkungula’s brilliance to produce a stunning save when the Bankers thought they had equalized and after 90 minutes of play, Bullets won the Charity Shield to kick off the 2022 soccer season.