John Lanjesi believes Sunday’s FDH Bank Cup final against Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves will not be a walk in the park but the first team must come out to show seniority.
The Bullets senior side and their juniors will face off in the final at the Kamuzu Stadium, the second meeting between the two teams in this competition since its inception last season.
The first team captain is dismissing assertions of a “family affair” element in the encounter.
“First of all, this is not a family affair. We are playing a very experienced team which was capable of eliminating three Super League teams to reach this far and if you watch them in action, they are playing good football hence the need for us to be ready for a very resilient side,” Lanjesi told club media.
The defender has expressed caution saying the youngsters should not be underrated as the senior team risks being surprised if they think the match will just be a cakewalk.
“We should, at all costs, avoid underestimating them because if we do that, we will be surprised by the outcome of the match. We need to go with full force and show them how it is done. A final like this isn’t a new experience for us, we have been here before and we know what’s at stake when you reach this level of competition.”
The skipper also acknowledges this cup final will divide the Bullets family but feels the majority of the supporters will rally behind the junior team.
“We know the fans will be divided but the majority of our supporters will side with the junior team. It’s something obvious because we are the senior team and the supporters will have a very soft spot for the youngsters so that they are buoyed to beat us, but as I said earlier on, it’s up to us to show our seniority with a win and the best way for us is to prepare to play without the fans being behind us as we usually enjoy whenever we have a game.”
Lanjesi also has a special message to the fans ahead of the match coming after Bullets bounced back from three back-to-back draws in the league to beat Sable Farming 5-1 on Wednesday.
“Football is never easy and that’s the reason why we have three results which is a win, a loss or a draw and it’s a new team with the majority of players playing in the top flight for the first time in their careers and whenever we stumble, we just need them to keep on supporting us.
“If we keep on winning each and every game, it will also be very difficult for the youngsters to learn so at times, we need to stumble so that they learn the hard way,” said the captain.
He guarantees the spectators coming to this final showdown an action-packed encounter.
“They should be assured that they will watch a very entertaining. To us, it’s business as usual and we will take the game seriously the way we have been treating each and every game we have played this season, so everybody will enjoy the action and I am pretty sure that the two teams will not disappoint.”
In the 2021 season, the two teams met in the round-of-16 at the same venue and the game ended 1-1 in regulation time before the senior side won on post-match penalties.
In 1997, the junior team, which was known as Banyamulenge, lost to their seniors in the Press Cup final played at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe. Peter Mponda, now Bullets’ first team assistant coach, was part of that squad.