Nyasa Big Bullets coach Kalisto Pasuwa on Thursday spoke to the media for the first time after his last pre-match interview in January.
Bullets on Saturday face northern region side Mzuzu Warriors at the Kamuzu Stadium before meeting Mighty Tigers at Mpira Stadium on Monday as the TNM Super League returns to action this Friday after a seven-week suspension due to Covid-19.
Speaking at Blantyre Sports Club, Pasuwa said the suspension was a blessing in disguise as it gave The People’s Team time to go back to the drawing board following a sloppy start. He also provided team news, injury updates, his take on Saturday’s opponents, as well as playing without fans, among others.
Read what the head coach said below:
After such a lengthy break, is the team ready to resume the title defence?
“As Nyasa Big Bullets, we are always ready. It doesn’t matter we are playing a friendly match or a league match. We need to be ready on everything because we are a big team that needs results every time”.
“What has been the process of preparations since the games were suspended?
“We have been having training sessions with the boys who were around and we had five of our players with the [Malawi] national team. As much as we support the national team, in terms of the mode of [club] training, those who were with the Flames are now behind, so we need to squeeze them in so that we get the best out of them [as the games restart]”.
Was the break a blessing in disguise considering Bullets’ sloppy start, having only trained for a few weeks before the current season started in November?
“Yes it has been very beneficial having close to seven weeks of training. [And] as you know last time we had more injuries, but during the break some of the boys have recovered. It’s very unfortunate that some are still missing due to injuries, including Aziz [Mwakifuna], Pilirani Zonda, Righteous [Banda] and Henry [Kabichi] who picked up a knock this week. We also have two boys who tested positive for Covid two weeks ago, we hope they will be joining us next week. But all in all, we have covered well in terms of depth of the team and the training sessions”.
Your take on facing Mzuzu Warriors on Saturday?
“We last played them in 2019 and we struggled a lot meeting them. We missed so many chances before scoring the winner in the additional minutes and that’s why I have been telling the boys to prepare for everything. For us to pick up points, we need to work hard, we need to do more and I have been talking to the boys to remember how we struggled to get results against teams towards the end of the season”.
The defending champions are eighth on the standings with 12 points from seven games, are you under any pressure to close the gap with the top four teams?
“It’s good that we have the pressure [for us] to do well. As coaches, we are supposed to be under pressure in order for us to do well. For now, we will put everything in order for us to have results coming. We had areas that were giving us problems and we have been working on them for us to win games”.
The games return without supporters, how have you been preparing the boys back to playing in empty stadiums?
“Yes, remember before the league was stopped, we played three matches without fans. In most areas, you could see a very different Bullets than the one when supporters were in. Now, we have been talking to them to remove the mentality of having the fans around. We have advised them to win games without the fans and I think by now, the players are now getting used to the environment without fans and they can give us results.