August has been a very noteworthy month for FCB Nyasa Big Bullets as we reached the semifinals of the FDH Bank Cup, the second preliminary round of the CAF Champions League and finished top of the TNM Super League.
The People’s Team wrapped up the month of August with an incredible comeback 3-2 victory over Civil Service United, coming from 2-0 down at home to reclaim the top position of the Super League table before going for the international break.
Before Wednesday’s match, we defeated Dragon FC of Equatorial Guinea 3-0 on aggregate in a two-legged tie that was preceded by two victories over Extreme FC in the FDH Bank Cup and TNM Super League as well as stalemates against Mafco and Tigers in the league.
Let’s now take a look at our journey in the fruitful month that came to an end on Thursday…
Mighty Tigers 1-1 Bullets
The match was played at Kamuzu Stadium on 2 August. It was a game we needed to collect all the points considering that we were at our base despite being an away team in this encounter. However, we were down just before the half-hour mark through a Precious Chipungu strike that forced us to chase for an equalizer that eventually came in the early minutes of the second half through substitute Ephraim Kondowe.
The equalizer gave The People’s Team a relief for something extra and indeed, the team pushed for the winning goal but it was never meant to be a day for all the points as we shared one point apiece. It was a highly spirited performance from the Bullets, who created plenty of goal-scoring chances but we couldn’t get the winning goal.
Extreme FC 1-1 Bullets
It was a quarterfinal match that we needed a win in our quest to defend and win the FDH Bank Cup for a second successive year.
Facing the Mchinji-based side away at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe on 5 August, Kalisto Pasuwa already predicted a tough outing against a very rejuvenated side, knowing how much we struggled to narrowly beat them 1-0 in the first round of the TNM Super League this campaign.
With just 20 minutes played in the cup game, we were 1-0 down courtesy of Gregory Mwase’s volley.
Bullets kept on pushing for an equalizer but it looked like our journey in the 2023 FDH Bank Cup was coming to an end against the rookies, until the last minute when second-half substitute Ephraim Kondowe saved the day with a late equalizer and we went on to win the match 4-2 through a penalty shootout to book a place in the semis against Dedza Dynamos.
Mafco FC 0-0 Bullets
Straight from the hard-fought cup triumph over Extreme FC, The People’s Team proceeded to Dwangwa for a midweek league encounter against Mafco FC at Chitowe Stadium four days later.
It was another frustrating afternoon for Pasuwa’s charges who created plenty of chances but could not make any breakthrough as we shared the spoils with a goalless stalemate to drop into the third position in the championship race.
Bullets 3-0 Extreme FC
A second meeting between the two teams within the shortest period, but this time, a league match at Kamuzu Stadium on 13 August. It was a tough match for the defending champions, who had to do extra work to get all three points through strikes from Patrick Mwaungulu, Yamikani Fodya and Anthony Mfune.
We needed to win this game for us to leave for Equatorial Guinea for the CAF Champions League assignment against Dragon FC in Malabo with our shoulders high and we carried the day getting all the points against the Mchinji-based side to take us top of the league with 34 points.
Dragon FC 0-2 Bullets
It was our first outing away to the Central African country for the first preliminary round first leg in the CAF Champions League against Dragon FC at Estadio de Malabo in the Capital City of Equatorial Guinea.
Pasuwa’s men needed nothing but victory to break the jinx of failing to sail through the first round of Africa’s biggest club competition.
Maxwell Phodo did the job for The People’s Team in the first half with two beautiful goals that gave us a 2-0 goal advantage over the Equatorial Guinea champions ahead of the return leg at Bingu National Stadium a week later.
This was also the third time for the Malawi champions to register a win in the Champions League away from home for the past eight years after they defeated Fomboni FC in Comoros Island in 2015 and Amazulu FC in the 2020/21 campaign.
Bullets 1-0 Dragon FC
With a massive advantage from the first leg, Bullets needed a draw or another win to secure their place in the second preliminary round for the first time since 2015.
Hosting Dragon at Bingu National Stadium looked like an easy task having beaten them 2-0 in the reverse fixture, but we had to wait until the second half to completely seal the victory with a goal from Kondowe, who, in his last six games, has scored in five coming on as a substitute.
The win meant Bullets finally recorded a win at Bingu National Stadium in the Champions League for the first time, having previously lost to Amazulu FC and Simba SC in our two previous attempts.
By beating Dragon FC, Bullets set up a second-round qualification showdown against the Democratic Republic of Congo’s TP Mazembe this month.
Bullets 3-2 Civil Service United
The defending champions returned to Kamuzu Stadium after three weeks for a league match before switching back to Champions League football when they welcomed Civil Service United on Wednesday afternoon.
It was a tough assignment, with Bullets going down 2-0 before the half-hour mark through strikes from Luke Chima and Binwell Katinji.
Lanjesi Nkhoma had the chance to score from the spot after Mwaungulu was brought down in the box, but the forward was denied by Tione Tembo in the 40th minute.
Our leading scorer this season gathered himself swiftly and found the back of the net to reduce the arrears five minutes later and put the match at 1-2 before the recess.
In the final period, substitute Kondowe levelled the scores just four minutes into the half before Patrick Mwaungulu’s wonderful strike in the 86th minute gave us all three points.
The result moved us to the top of the summit with 37 points, one above the second-placed Mighty Mukuru Wanderers, who have also played a game more than us.
With the international break coming up and having completed five first-team players to the Malawi squad, Bullets will not be involved in any other domestic competition until we face TP Mazembe in the CAF Champions League second preliminary round first leg on 17 September.
In summary, we have played four games in the league, scoring seven goals and conceding three.
In cup competitions, we have played three games, beating Extreme FC in the FDH Bank Cup and beating Dragon FC in the Champions League.
We have kept three clean sheets in both the TNM Super League and CAF Champions League.
Patrick Mwaungulu was voted Man of the Match twice following his superb performances against Extreme FC and Civil Service United.