The pre-season international bonanza hosted by FCB Nyasa Big Bullets returns on Friday with two Malawian teams facing competition from Mozambican sides.
It will surely be to the delight of many as the tourney, which was launched in 2019, has always been a great sharpener to clubs and such a feat to the fans starving of action during the off-season.
While the showdown is set to kick off tomorrow, we give you everything you need to know about the big event set for the country’s soccer mecca, the Kamuzu Stadium.
The teams involved
As it has always been in the past, four teams will comprise the three-day pre-season tourney. Two local clubs and two clubs from outside the country.
The bonanza, hosted by Bullets, will see The Peoples Team facing competition from local rivals Mighty Mukuru Wanderers and União Desportiva do Songo and Clube Ferroviário de Nampula of Mozambique.
How the participating teams fared in previous league campaigns in their country
The main hosts, FCB Nyasa Big Bullets, are off the back of their 16th league championship triumph while their TNM Super League fellow, Mighty Mukuru Wanderers finished third in the 2022 standings.
Interestingly, we also have a third finisher and a league title winner of the previous season in the two visiting Mozambican sides.
With 50 points from 22 games, UD Songo won the Mozambican top-flight league Moçambola in 2022. That is ten points above Ferroviário de Nampula, a side that finished in third position.
In their last five league games, the Mozambican champions drew twice and won three times. Songo were the champions but it was Nampula who finished the season stronger as they drew once and won four of their last five games.
UD Songo, who also won the 2017 and 2018 Moçambola league titles, were quite a team last season, scoring 34 goals and conceding only nine throughout the 2022 campaign. No wonder, currently they are the biggest contributor to the Mozambican national team as before the exit of their talisman, Pachoio Lau Há King, who moved to Angolan Grupo Desportivo Sagrada Esperança, they had eight players in The Mambas squad.
The counterparts, Ferroviàrio de Nampula, were quite behind that second-to-none stat at the end of the 2022 campaign. The position three finishers were able to score 25 goals but were loose at the back to concede 19 goals.
How they are shaping up now ahead of the new season
It’s been quite a busy period almost for every club set to be involved in the Malawian tourney, except UD Songo.
So far, Wanderers, Bullets and Ferroviário de Nampula have been the most active in releasing and recruiting their team members in the current window.
Both the Nomads and Nampula have let go of around ten of their players and have also made several big signings ahead of the 2023 season.
The two sides will enter the tourney with newly appointed managers at their command, a factor making them most likely to be dynamic and two teams to watch.
The champions of Malawi have already made the Chawanangwa Gumbo and Maxwell Gasten Phodo signings and hinted at further newcomers, having parted ways with some of their big names like Babatunde Adepoju, Chimwemwe Idana and Misheck Selemani.
Aside from losing their superstar King Lau, the Mozambican champions, who won a third championship in five years last season, remain unchanged.
Meeting just after winning the latest championship in their countries, Bullets and Songo will answer the question of greatness and most likely present a classic match of its own.
The homecoming party
For so long Malawian players have been common in the books of Mozambican clubs which, when participating in this tourney, often presents a different homecoming moment for them.
This time around Bullets ex-defender Bashir Maunde, who recently completed a move from Civo Services United to Nampula, will join the Flames and UD Songo captain John Banda in experiencing what it is like to invade home with a foreign force.
The likes of Schumacher Kuwali, Charles Swini, and Frank Banda have been the other home-comers in the previous years.
Foreign clubs have made the tourney theirs in previous competitions. The inaugural edition was won by Ferroviário de Nampula and then the Zimbabwean outfit, Chicken Inn, won the last one in 2020. Despite home advantage, a Malawian club is yet to win the tourney.
Main hosts, Bullets, who are yet to win the competition, will be up against Ferroviário de Nampula in an early kick-off fixture at 12h30 on the opening day and later in the afternoon, it will be Wanderers vs UD Songo.
The second day will present the latest edition of the Blantyre derby as Maule will face the Nomads at 15h00. That will be after the UD Songo and Ferroviário de Nampula match set to kick off at noon.
On the final day, 5th March, Antoninho Muchanga’s Nampula will take on Mark Harrison’s Mighty Wanderers while Songo and Bullets will close the show at 15h00.
Below is the full fixture of the bonanza which will be live on MBC.
Friday, 3rd March 2023
Ferroviário de Nampula vs FCB Nyasa Big Bullets at 12h00
Mighty Mukuru Wanderers vs UD Songo at 15h00
Saturday, 4th March 2023
UD Songo vs Ferroviário de Nampula at 12h00
FCB Nyasa Big Bullets vs Mighty Mukuru Wanderers at 15h00
Sunday, 5th March 2023
Ferroviário de Nampula vs Mighty Mukuru Wanderers at 15h00
UD Songo vs FCB Nyasa Big Bullets at 15h00