It’s Matchweek 3 of the 2023 TNM Super League and FCB Nyasa Big Bullets are away in Lilongwe to face Extreme FC at the Civo Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Maule were in the capital a fortnight ago when they drew 1-1 against Silver Strikers in the league opener at Bingu National Stadium before returning to Blantyre to beat Mafco 4-0 last Sunday.
This weekend’s tie will be the first-ever meeting between The People’s Team and the newly-promoted Extreme, a very tricky fixture for Kalisto Pasuwa, who is looking for back-to-back victories as Bullets hunt for a fifth consecutive championship this season.
Straight from the convincing 4-0 win over Mafco, Pasuwa’s charges will be looking to collect their first maximum points away, having dropped two points against Silver in the first game.
They will, however, have to contend with a side desperate for a win after collecting a point from the possible six in their opening two games.
The Mchinji-based side failed to get over the line in their first game away to Mighty Tigers, losing 1-0 at Mpira Stadium in Blantyre.
Last weekend, the rookies had to come from behind and draw 1-1 with Civil Service United at Civo Stadium to go 14th in the standings with just a point.
Bullets, on the other hand, will be looking to make it two wins in three matches to keep pace with early pacesetter Mighty Mukuru Wanderers.
Sunday’s victory moved the defending champions to second position with four points, two behind The Nomads, who have won their two opening assignments.
Maule, who became the first team to register more goals in a match this season, have so far scored five, conceded one, and kept one clean sheet in two league fixtures.
Bullets at Civo Stadium
Civo Stadium has been a good place to visit for Pasuwa’s men in recent seasons, winning all the assignments after beating Kamuzu Barracks and Civil Service United at the facility for two consecutive seasons.
In the 2020/21 season, Bullets recorded a 2-1 victory over Civil before hammering Kamuzu Barracks with a comfortable 3-0 win, a result that saw The People’s Team cementing the grip on the title chase to win Pasuwa his third championship with the Malawi titleholders.
Last season, Bullets were 1-0 winners over both KB and The Servants. Pasuwa will be looking forward to another victory at this venue.
The first record between the two opponents is set to be written this Saturday in their first encounter following the promotion of the Mchinji side to the TNM Super League.
Pasuwa has traveled to Lilongwe with a 22-member squad that includes forward Hassan Kajoke, who has been undergoing individual training the past weeks after missing pre-season preparations.
However, defenders Precious Sambani and Gomezgani Chirwa remain on the sidelines as they recover from hamstring injuries they sustained on international duty with the Malawi National Football Team.
The opponents have every player on board for the match at Civo Stadium.
Pasuwa’s pre-match interview
The Bullets boss has told his players to have a positive attitude when they face the “unknown” Extreme FC as he expects the newly-promoted side to be a tough opponent on Saturday afternoon.
“They are motivated already and these are teams that you have no idea of how they do their things. We are telling everyone in the house never to underrate them. We need to put everything in place for us to take all the points. It’s about being positive in everything we do.
“The moment we get into the field of play, we need to be in the right sense of mood. We shouldn’t even think about Extreme, which came this year. Every team is big in the league.”
In the 2022 season, Bullets collected maximum points over Dedza Dynamos, Rumphi United and Sable Farming, new entrants in that campaign.
The last time Bullets struggled against a team that just got promoted into the top-flight league was in the 2019 season when they were held to a goalless draw by Mlatho Mponela at Civo Stadium.