Kalisto Pasuwa says reaching the second preliminary stages of the CAF Champions League is a motivation factor for FCB Nyasa Big Bullets to face TP Mazembe without fear.
The Malawi champions will square off against the Democratic Republic of Congo giants in the first match of the two-legged affair at Bingu National Stadium on Sunday afternoon for a place in the group stages.
Whilst admitting that his team is facing a team with a rich history in the continental club competition, the tactician believes his players will be highly motivated to give the Congolese giants a tough run for their money.
“It’s a plus sign to the club and players to advance to the next round where every player, when playing football, needs to improve in whatever he does. We are playing TP Mazembe, an experienced side and former CAF Champions League winners, a very experienced side and we hope for the best when we meet them tomorrow.
“We have been talking to the boys, trying to psych them up for them to get into the groove and I am very sure that they are highly motivated to do the job for us and give Mazembe a tough run for their money,” Pasuwa explained during the pre-match press conference on Saturday.
He added: “It’s a motivating factor to them and we have been talking to them to say maybe this must not be the end of it. We need to fight for us to go to the next round as you saw yourself when we were playing at home and away against Dragon FC. We played them away and we played very well but when we came here, we struggled so it’s how we will approach the games when we are playing in these international matches.
“In football, we field eleven players each in the field of play. For one to rise, in terms of duels, you say I am playing versus him, how I am going to fare, that’s one thing to our boys. They can make history by playing very well. If they do well, people around will start asking questions about the team that advanced against one of the best teams in Africa.
On whether starting at home before travelling to Lubumbashi for the second leg is an advantage to The People’s Team, the gaffer said it will all depend on the mindset of his players, reminding them that starting at home does not guarantee a straight win in such a biggest competition.
“As I said, it’s the mind aspect of it where everyone in the house will say we are winning because we are playing at home and that is what we have been trying to work out to every around, starting with the supporters, management, the players and the coaches to say when you are playing at home is not an obvious thing that we are going to win, but we need to put everything in place for us to win the game hence the reason why I talked about the mentality aspect of it and how we approach the game that is coming.”
On what it will take for Bullets to beat such an experienced side, the tactician said there is a need to face them with caution.
“Again, I would come to the fact of saying we are playing a very experienced side, we can’t throw up everything to them because the moment we leave more spaces or even try to go, push too much, will end up confusing everything, so we need to be very tactical for us to approach this game in a better way.
“During my time as a player, I have been seeing them very well in terms of approach and tactical awareness in them. Very big in stature, or even when they are attacking, free kicks, corners, they are very good at attacking using set pieces and this makes them a team where they can punish you through corner kicks. So, we need to be quite aware of all these areas,” he continued.
Pasuwa then asked Malawians to come out in large numbers to support the team that is representing the nation in the continental showpiece.
“Us, as technical panel and players, we try our best to please our supporters and everyone around, maybe in Malawi to do good. It’s very unfortunate sometimes where results may not come as you wish but our main effort is to win so we urge everyone to come to Bingu [National Stadium] and support us.”