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Match preview: Chitipa vs Bullets

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets will face Chitipa United in the TNM Super League at Karonga Stadium on Saturday afternoon in our first outing up North this season.

As The People’s Team continues the chase for maximum points in the quest to defend the league title for a fifth successive season, Saturday’s fixture should be another uphill task for Bullets against a highly-motivated side.

Inkhalamu Zga Ku Chitipa, fifth in the standings, must be vastly thrilled as they will go into this fixture coming from their first-ever win over third-placed Mighty Mukuru Wanderers away from home last weekend and might be itching to cause another upset in Matchweek 8 of this campaign.

Current form

The two teams are coming from a successful weekend where they collected maximum points from their two respective league assignments.

The hosts also travelled down South for the first time this season. They stunned Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday with a memorable 1-0 victory through Chiukepo Msowoya’s own goal to register their first away win this term and move up to 5th in the standings with ten points.

Chitipa will be meeting an opposition coming from a big win following a 4-0 hammering of Red Lions at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday to open up a two-point lead over the second-placed Silver Strikers.

Bullets and the Central Bankers are the only two teams that are yet to taste defeat in the current season.

Macdonald Mtetemera’s side, which returned to the top-flight league after earning promotion at the end of the 2022 Simso Northern Region Football League, have three wins, one draw, and three losses whilst Bullets have five wins and two draws from which they have collected 17 points.

Head-to-head

The history between the two teams isn’t that huge, considering that Chitipa United has been on and off in the Malawi top-flight league.

In their six meetings, Bullets only dropped two points in the 2019 season when the rookies staged a stunning comeback to draw 2-2 at Kamuzu Stadium.

Chitipa has been playing second fiddle to the defending champions who have always dominated regardless of where they meet.

The previous visit to Karonga Stadium was in the 2020/21 campaign and Bullets defeated Chitipa 2-0, before we registered a double against them with the same 2-0 margin at home in a season they got relegated to the lower division.

Last season, we met Chitipa in the quarterfinals of the FDH Bank Cup at Rumphi Stadium and The People’s Team won 2-0.

In 2019, Bullets hammered the Northern Region outfit 3-0 in the first round of that season.

In 2018, the People’s Team secured a 5-0 victory over Chitipa in the quarterfinals of the FISD Challenge Cup at Kamuzu Stadium.

In 2017, Bullets did a double, beating Chitipa 1-0 and 2-0 at Chitowe Stadium and Chilomoni Stadium, respectively.

Overall, Bullets have been walking away with victories whenever facing Chitipa United but Saturday’s match will not dwell much on history, after all, records in football are meant to be broken and we have seen records being put to a halt.

Bullets’ performance away from home this season

Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges have had a mixed start to away matches this season after they registered two wins and two draws.

They first dropped points away to Silver in the first game of the season which ended 1-1. The defending champions then travelled back to Lilongwe to win 1-0 over rookies Extreme FC.

The next away match was a trip to Mpira Stadium, Bullets recorded a 2-0 win over Bangwe All Stars, before travelling to the Capital City again to play out to a 1-all draw away to Civil Service United.

Team News

The People’s Team will be without defenders Alick Lungu, Gomezgani Chirwa and Nickson Nyasulu.

Lungu and Nyasulu are recovering from the injuries they sustained a week ago whilst Chirwa has an infection that will keep him out of our Matchday 8.

But the good news is that Pasuwa will welcome back striker Hassan Kajoke into the matchday squad after the forward’s unavailability in the last two matches due to an ankle injury.

Mike Mkwate, who also missed Sunday’s victory at home against Red Lions due to a virus-related infection, is also back and part of the squad that has travelled to Karonga.

What Pasuwa said ahead of the tie

“[It’s] a very crucial game for us. I have always talked about how these so-called smaller teams raise their games against us and how they are confident after beating one of the best teams in Malawi, which means they will put in extra effort against us.

“We have been talking to the players to have the right sense of mind in order [for us] to grab all the points. Like all previous matches, this encounter will not be easy, but we need to step up and do the right thing.”

“Like always, we need to be very careful, solid in defence and play with structure. We shouldn’t undermine them because we won last week [beating Red Lions 4-0]. This is another different game altogether, so the players should forget about last week’s match and focus on getting results over Chitipa.

“There are times where you would think you are playing a small team then you want to throw everyone behind the ball and you are caught in the counter and concede, so we need to be disciplined at the back and attack with caution and above all, no complacency.”

Match officials

Newton Nyirenda will be the man in the middle on our return to the Northern Region.

Referee: Newton Nyirenda

Assistant Referee 1: Jonasio Luiz

Assistant Referee 2: Junior Mwakifwamba

Fourth Official: Misheck Juba

Match Assessor: Zuza Nyondo

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