Defending champions FCB Nyasa Big Bullets return to Kamuzu Stadium for the final TNM Super League fixture before travelling to Equatorial Guinea to begin the 2023 CAF Champions League campaign.
On Sunday afternoon, The People’s Team will host Extreme FC in our second match of the second round this term after sharing the spoils with Mafco in the opening game at Chitowe Stadium on Wednesday.
On paper, Sunday’s fixture might look an easy one, but teams have levelled up in the current season, and Kalisto Pasuwa anticipates another highly charged opponent despite being rocked at the bottom of the table.
The Bullets gaffer will be expecting his charges to bounce back from the midweek goalless draw and collect all the points against the visiting Mchinji side to boost the team’s morale going to Equatorial Guinea to face Dragon FC in the Champions League.
The People’s Team has had a frustrating start to the second round after being held to a goalless draw away to Mafco, registering our seventh draw in 16 matches, something we never did in the entire 2022 season when we only recorded six draws in the run-up to our fourth successive league title under Pasuwa.
The midweek result was Bullets’ second goalless draw in the 2023 season, having played out to another 0-0 stalemate away to Kamuzu Barracks in June.
Our back-to-back draws in the league, against Mighty Tigers and Mafco, saw the defending champions dropping to third position with 31 points, a point behind Silver Strikers and Chitipa United, who occupy the first and second spots, respectively.
This season alone, Bullets have registered three draws at Kamuzu Stadium, a clear indication of how frustrating the defending champions are in the pursuit of the fifth consecutive league title.
Pasuwa’s men will go into Sunday’s encounter hoping to bounce back and remain in contention for the championship race against the two early pacesetters who will still be playing their matches in the absence of Bullets for the next two weeks.
As for the opposition, they came from behind to earn a point against Civil Service United in their recent result on Wednesday. They remain bottom of the standings with just 10 points, conceding 20 goals and scoring nine.
Extreme have only registered two wins, losing in 10 matches and drawing four times.
The rookies have never won any game away from their base.
There is so little to write about these two teams because they have only met twice, once in the league in April and recently in the quarter-finals of the FDH Bank Cup a week ago.
Bullets won all the contests, beating them 1-0 in the first-round tie through a second-half strike from Hassan Kajoke, before eliminating them out of the FDH Bank Cup 4-2 on penalties following a 1-1 result in the regulation time.
Pasuwa will be without captain Precious Sambani, who is serving his suspension after accumulating three yellow cards, whilst Kajoke, Stanley Billiat, Mike Mkwate and Alick Lungu continue being on the sidelines with injuries.
There is however positive news as midfielder Ernest Petro can make a comeback after recovering from his knee injury that kept him out of action for almost a month.
What Pasuwa said ahead of the match
“[They are] not a bad side. They play very well. They matched us toe to toe when we played them in those two fixtures in Lilongwe and we are expecting them to come hard on us [on Sunday].
“It’s a case where we expect everyone in the house to get ready and fight for the team. We don’t have smaller teams anymore. I once told you about Chitipa United when someone ruled them out of contention for the title but look at where they are now, they are above us and level on points with Silver Strikers, so don’t underrate any team that comes, [we must] go and fight.
“I also don’t want to put my players under pressure because they are still learning. Remember, we promoted youngsters, and we also lost the spine of the team and we still need to have stability in the next games coming to get results.
How to follow the game
Mayamiko Kanjere returns to officiate our game in the TNM Super League after being in charge of the 3-0 home win over Blue Eagles on 9 July.
Referee: Mayamiko Kanjere
Assistant Referee 1: Richard Shumba
Assistant Referee 2: Mark Thunyani
Fourth Official: Shaibu Cassim
Match Assessor: Maxwell Mtonga