Kalisto Pasuwa says Nyasa Big Bullets’ Airtel Top 8 first-leg quarter-final match against Karonga United on Saturday will be more tactical in terms of attacking prowess and defensive part of it.
The head coach told club media ahead of the clash at Kamuzu Stadium. He also spoke highly of Saturday’s opposition, the need to bounce back from last week’s first loss in the TNM Super League and an update on his squad’s injury list.
Below is a full transcript of our interview with Pasuwa…
You are starting the Airtel Top 8 Cup title defence at home against Karonga United in a two-legged affair, what will be your approach considering that you will also travel to Karonga for the second leg in this prestigious competition?
A game that we also need to be very careful. We have gone four to five games where we are conceding first then we look for an equalizer but, in this Cup, you cannot be doing that, we need to be very solid [and] at the same time we also need to be very offensive, so it’s a game which is very tactical in terms of attacking prowess and also the defensive side of it. Being two legs, we wouldn’t want to be so reluctant to say we are at home because we can be surprised. We need to have everything in place for us to get the result.
The last meeting between the two teams was at Kamuzu Stadium last year in December in which you had to come from behind twice to beat them 3-2, what are you expecting from them?
Karonga United is a side not to underate and considering also the fact that it’s a Cup game. We need to work on our weaknesses of conceding early and it’s a thing that we, solidly, need to rectify our defensive part of it and then we also need to have goals coming.
After 25 matches, last week, you had your first defeat in domestic competitions, losing 1-0 to Mafco, are you having any pressure heading into this particular match and how important is it for you to bounce back?
[It is] essential for us to bounce back. It’s like we saw a crack when we were about to roof, which is one thing where we need to be very careful about it. At the end of the day, you might end up destroying the whole building, so we have been talking to the boys, and everyone in the house is aware that this is not the time to relax. Let’s go back to where we think we were making mistakes, but again if you saw the game that we played in Dedza, it’s a small mistake that you do on transitions and then a negative part also of going backwards and considering the surface of the pitch, we ended up conceding a goal, so we need to quickly look for what’s on the ground then work with the advantage of our side.
You said some months ago that the boys are learning the hard way, have they moved on from that defeat?
We can’t be looking at that defeat. I need to motivate them, I need to talk to them, we need to sit down with each and everyone who is in the house to try and encourage these boys to say it’s over and let’s look at the games that are coming. It mustn’t affect the games that are coming in front of us. We need to be very positive, if you see me on the touchline, I try as much as I can to be motivating them. It’s not the time for me to be hammering them, it is the time to be praising them so that they can do better.
And lastly, any injury concerns ahead of this encounter?
We have Hassan Kajoke who has flu and has been running outside the [training] field since Tuesday. We also have Yankho Singo who is still recovering from his ankle injury. We have Blessings Mpokera who also injured his knee when we were playing Mafco [on Sunday], but besides those, all the boys are around for this match [against Karonga].