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Opponents Watch: Wanderers vs Bullets

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It’s one of the most eagerly anticipated fixtures of the season as FCB Nyasa Big Bullets return to Kamuzu Stadium for an away TNM Super League tie against rivals Mighty Mukuru Wanderers on Saturday.

Bullets are coming from a frustrating goalless draw away to Kamuzu Barracks last Saturday and will go into the following challenge looking to bounce back and reduce the three-point gap at the top of the standings against first-placed Silver Silvers.

As the two rivals both play their home matches at Kamuzu Stadium, The People’s Team has made the venue a fortress for any opposition. However, Saturday’s clash is not only for points as the rivals will also be battling for the Blantyre City bragging rights.

With Bullets registering six Super League wins, three draws and one loss in ten games this season, we take a look at how our opponents have performed so far.

Mark Harrison’s charges started the TNM Super League campaign on a high note when they defeated Civil Service United at Kamuzu Stadium courtesy of a brace from Christopher Kumwembe.

The next fixture was away to Red Lions at Balaka Stadium. Again, Kumwembe was a star man when his hat trick secured all the points against the Lions of Zomba.

Wanderers, who were the log leaders at this particular time, hosted Ekwendeni Hammers. Again, they demonstrated why they were topping the league when they collected maximum points with a hard-fought 2-1 win over the Mzuzu-based side through strikes from Gaddie Chirwa and Kumwembe.

But their good run of form was put on hold by Mighty Tigers at Mpira Stadium where they were forced to a 1-all draw. Stanley Sanudi scored from the spot, but Precious Chiudza responded for Tigers a few minutes after conceding.

Their next match was away at Mzuzu Stadium against Moyale Barracks. The Nomads registered their second draw in a row as the soldiers held them to a goalless stalemate.

A home match against Bangwe All Stars followed at Kamuzu Stadium where the rookies dominated, but in the end, Kumwembe and Sanudi scored in the second half to handle Wanderers all the points as they moved within the reach of Bullets who were top of the table that period.

The Lali Lubani boys, who last won the championship in 2017, were left in total disbelief when they lost 1-0 at home to Chitipa United in Matchweek 7, their first defeat of this campaign.

Harrison and his men bounced back the following week when Lawrence Chaziya and Isaac Kaliyati’s strikes handed them full points away to Karonga United to go level on points with their rivals who were also handed their first loss of the season by Chitipa United at Karonga Stadium 24 hours earlier.

The Nomads could not continue from where they had stopped away in Karonga as they suffered another shock defeat away to rookies, Extreme FC, in their next fixture at Bingu National Stadium to maintain their third position in the standings, with Silver Strikers now in the driving seat.

Eager to bounce back from their frustrating outing, just before the international break, the blue side of town hosted Dedza Dynamos in Matchweek 10 as Kumwembe scored in the seventh minute to give his side an early lead and join Lanjesi Nkhoma on the scorers’ chart with eight goals.

The visitors pulled level in the second half to hold the third-placed Nomads to a 1-all draw.

Wanderers against Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium in the past decade

Within the past ten years, the Nomads have only collected full points over Bullets once, with a 1-0 victory in the 2020/2021 season, courtesy of a first-half strike from Vincent Nyangulu, with The People’s Team getting the better of their rivals in most of the encounters as they shared the spoils in other meetings.

The last tie at Kamuzu Stadium in the TNM Super League saw Wanderers staging a stunning comeback when they forced Bullets to a 3-3 draw in a match they trailed 3-1 at some point.

Bullets have had six victories over their rivals since 2015.

Their dangerous men on the field of play

Without any doubt, Kumwembe is their star man to watch with his eye for goal. The forward has surpassed the four-goal tally he scored in the entire 2022 season at Civil Service United before he moved to Blantyre.

He has found the back of the net seven times in the Super League this term, one behind the leading scorer, our wing forward Lanjesi Nkhoma. If left unattended Kumwembe has what it takes to cause havoc to Bullets’ back four.

Another player to watch from Wanderers is Gaddie Chirwa, their record-signing from Blue Eagles who joined Harrison’s side during the January transfer window.

The winger hasn’t been a frequent scorer yet, but his movements and pace could give Bullets defenders some headaches on Saturday. He always makes good runs and finds spaces between defence to feed Kumwembe upfront. At Blue Eagles, he registered 12 assists and that was one of the many reasons that convinced Wanderers to bring him to Lali Lubani Road.

Position on the log table

The Nomads are third in the table with 18 points from 10 games, scoring 13 goals and conceding six. They are three points behind Bullets and six behind the leaders Silver Strikers.

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