FCB Nyasa Big Bullets head coach Kalisto Pasuwa has explained his decision to withdraw Righteous Banda at half-time during our 3-1 win against Moyale Barracks at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
The midfielder was replaced by wingback Gomezgani Chirwa after the recess as the defending champions led 2-0 with first goals from Lanjesi Nkhoma and Hassan Kajoke before Anthony Mfune netted the third in the final period.
Banda, who was a marvel to watch after he came on as a substitute in last Saturday’s 0-1 victory away to Extreme FC, was handed his first start of the season at home against The Lions of Kaning’ina.
Asked during his post-match interview, the Bullets head coach told journalists that the decision was tactical, as Chirwa replaced Blessings Mpokera on the right side of the defence, with the young defender occupying Banda’s place in midfield.
“It was tactical. He was playing very well; he was very offensive [and] very good in possession of the ball. But again, the opposition was using long balls to advance into our half so we needed to close them down in the midfield to minimize their attack and it worked.”
He also shared why for the first start this campaign, midfielder Mike Mkwate was on the bench, with Maxwell Phodo dropped.
“Mike was on the bench because of the stature as our opponents are fond of using aerial balls, so we wanted an average height in the field of play. Phodo is one of the guys who was dropped [with Kajoke starting and Mfune on the bench]”.
Following the home win on Saturday, the gaffer, who is eyeing his fifth successive title with Bullets, warned his players not to read too much into Saturday’s win as The People’s Team went top of the table for the first time this season, saying it’s “just a marathon” and that there is a lot of work to do.
“We are in four games, and we have ten points. Yes, we needed this win but we are in a race, it’s a marathon where we will play 30 games and we shouldn’t think about being top because we have plenty of games coming, so my boys should forget about this result and switch their attention to the next assignment.”
The boss on the other hand patted his players on the back following yet another excellent performance.
“The boys played well today even though we had some bits and pieces where we lost it in terms of getting the ball back from the opposition, but again, we came good in the second half where we were very offensive and increased our advantage.
“The win is a motivation to the boys as you know that most of them are new and this can keep them going and give them strength in whatever we will be doing at our training sessions and in the rest of the upcoming games.”
Bullets will play the fifth league game of the campaign away to Bangwe All Stars next weekend.