FCB Nyasa Big Bullets will return to the CAF Champions League on Sunday when we host TP Mazembe in the first leg of the second preliminary round at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
The People’s Team reached this phase of African football after eliminating Dragon FC of Equatorial Guinea two weeks ago to set up a second preliminary round against the Democratic Republic of Congo champions.
Before Sunday’s showdown, we look at how our opponents have performed in Africa’s biggest club competition and their journey so far in their domestic league this campaign…
Mazembe is the most successful team in the Vodacom Ligue 1, which is the top division of the Congolese Association Football Federation.
The Ravens have 19 domestic league titles, five Congo Cup titles, three Congo Super Cups and four CAF Champions League titles which they won in 1967, 1968, 2009, 2010 and 2015. They have made 25 appearances in the continental club competition.
Based in Lubumbashi, Mazembe were the losing finalists in 1969 and 1970, semifinalists in 1972, 2002, 2012, 2014 and in the 2018/2019 season.
The Congolese champions have made seven appearances in the CAF Confederations Cup, winning it in 2016.
They were also CAF Cup winners in 1980 after making two appearances.
In 2010, 2011 and 2016, Mazembe won the CAF Super Cup after only making five appearances.
Domestic performance this season
Mazembe has a 100 per cent winning record so far and is currently second in Group A of the Vodacom Ligue 1 with nine points from three games.
They will be coming to Lilongwe to face the Malawi champions after scoring eight goals and conceding none in their domestic league.
The Ravens opened their 2023/24 league campaign with a 1-0 away victory to FC Simba on 23 August, with Fily Traore scoring their lone goal as they collected their first three points.
Next was a home assignment against Groupe Bazano a week later and Mihayo Kazembe’s men hammered the visitors 4-0, courtesy of strikes from Joel Beya, Magloire Ntambwe, Boubacar Ha Enikoye and Kevin Mondeko.
The Ravens then travelled to Lubumbashi Sport for their third and most recent match before their trip to Lilongwe and they maintained their perfect start to the season with another comfortable 3-0 win through a brace from Beya and a lone strike from Ntambwe.
Beya is probably their dangerous man on the field of play as he has already netted three of the seven goals the team has scored in their three league assignments. The 23-year-old Congolese-born attacker is one of the most feared strikers in the domestic league.
Meeting with Bullets
The Congolese champions will be travelling to Lilongwe for the first-ever meeting against the Malawi champions as Kalisto Pasuwa and his men are eyeing their second qualification into the CAF Champions League group stages since 2004.
The return leg of the second preliminary round between the two sides will be played on 30 September in Lubumbashi.