FCB Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves have finished top in the first round of the ThumbsUp Southern Region Football League following a comfortable 2-0 victory over Ntaja United at the Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
In a lovely manner, Gift Jossam and Macray Chiwaya scored in each half to put their names on the scoresheet.
The victory means that our youngsters have won the first round of Group B with 22 points from 10 games.
Unlike their previous fixture, our youngsters made a pulsating start to the tie against Ntaja United with the flowery passing of the ball.
Two minutes from the start we registered the first shot on target of the tie when Chiwaya, who was putting on the armband on the day, tasted the visitors’ goalie Kennedy Nakhaima with a fine half volley.
Five minutes later Lyton Chinong’one had the visitors curved open with a lovely penetrative run with the ball before beautifully laying it to Zizwa Hanjahanja who controlled it nicely but fired lamely at goal for Nakhaima to save the visiting side from going down early in the tie.
Then, the visitors staged their first real threat in the match when their forward Mike Thom stormed into our area on the left-hand side but his cut-back went across the goal begging for a touch to go in.
Having kept much of the ball possession from the start, our breakthrough finally arrived in the 26th minute through a well-taken set piece from Jossam on the edge of the box to make it 1-0.
Trying to match the tempo we had set up so high, Ntaja United’s coach Chisomo Kamlanje, who once played for Bullets before hanging his boots, then had Thokozani Jere replaced with Prince Mpofu, whose introduction saw the Machinga-based side pushing forward with improved coherence.
Nonetheless, there was nothing to stop our youngsters from clinging to the authority in the tie and making sure that the opening half finished as one-sided in our favour.
In pursuit of an equalizer, Ntaja then made a triple substitution seven minutes into the second half, a wholesome change that again upped their contest.
Refusing to drop their crown, our youngsters re-established their dominance, which resulted in our second goal 18 minutes into the second half.
From down the right byline, Jossam cut inside to pass the ball to Chiwaya who snaked through the visitors’ defence before calmly finishing a wonderful team move to make it 2-0 to the good.
The visitors then won a penalty kick a few minutes later but we escaped the threat of seeing our lead cut short when our goalie Joel Ngwira saved McDonald Mussa’s effort from the spot to keep our lead intact. To cushion our lead, Enos Chatama then subbed a striker for a defender when Hanjahanja paved the way for Mussah Bwanali.
With five minutes left on the clock, Gift Lamowa, who had little goal-mouth action in the match, had a chance to put it to bed when he worked hard to dispossess the visitors’ last man before seeing his curler effort miss the far post target with an inch.
That proved to be the last real chance of the game as the final whistle arrived a few minutes later.
What it means
The victory wins the first round of ThumbsUp Southern Region Football League for our youngsters in Group B.
We are now 22 points from 10 games and the victory today meant that our record of not losing a premier division match at the Kamuzu Stadium since 2019 continues.
Coach Enos Chatama post Ntaja United
I’m very pleased, it was a quite impressive performance. The boys played very well, we moved the ball very quickly, we passed around and closed down the spaces. Three points in the bag, it’s good for the team. I’m happy with the performance.
Having finished the first round on top, our youngsters will now have their focus on their first fixture after the mid-season break which will be away to Zomba Air Base.
Joel Ngwira, Chifundo Sapuwa, Happy Mphepo, Francis Malikebu, Raphick Bahati, Gift Jossam, Sladge Sanudi, Lyton Chinong’one, Zizwa Hanjahanja, Gift Lamowa, Macray Chiwaya
Osman Bakali, Mussah Bwanali