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Loan watch: Salima scores on his TNM Super League debut

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Chikumbutso Salima was on target on his TNM Super League debut as Bangwe All Stars drew 1-1 away to Dedza Dynamos Salima Sugar FC on Sunday.

Our 21-year-old wing forward continued where he stopped in the second tier in the 2022 season, scoring for fun to be named Bullets Reserves’ Players’ Player of the Season, before he was loaned out to Bangwe to continue developing his game with the newly-promoted TNM Super League side.

Six of our loanees experienced Super League football in the first week of the 2023 season as the battle for points started on Saturday.

The People’s Team loaned out eight players to two Super League teams, Bangwe All Stars and Ekwendeni Hammers.

Bangwe signed goalkeeper Rahaman John, defender Yamikani Mologeni, midfielder Chimwemwe Yassin as well as strikers Emmanuel Saviel and Chikumbutso Salima, whilst Hammers secured the services of midfielders Mphatso Magaleta and Felix Demakude in addition to defender White Kitisen on a season-long loan deal.

Four of the five players that were sent to Bangwe were handed first-team starts by head coach Mabvuto Lungu when they travelled to Dedza Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

John, Mologeni, Salima and Saviel played the full 90 minutes to help the Bangwe-based side secure a point away from home.

John produced a series of saves, including two consecutive one-on-one saves in the first half to deny Promise Kamwendo and Clemment Nyondo from scoring.

Even though he conceded, the shot-stopper was very outstanding in his first match in the Super League after spending years playing in the second tier.

Mologeni, the former Reserves skipper, was also involved during the draw. His ability to move forward as a wingback helped his team in attack and he was involved in the build-up to the goal in which he exchanged passes with Salima to set through Robert Saizi who was fouled and it was from the freekick that the rookies found the back of the net.

Salima, the 2022 FDH Bank Cup Discovery of the Tournament and Player of the Tournament was at his level best as his goal saw the rookies return to Blantyre with one point.

The lethal winger, who was a marvel to watch throughout the match, should have had several assists to his name, but Bangwe All Stars’ front-men missed several chances, including simple tap-ins originating from Salima.

In the 65th minute, our reserves product tapped in from a well-taken freekick from Saizi to give the visitors a lead.

Despite failing to grab all the points, Salima was named Man of the Match, his first of the many accolades yet to come for the gifted winger.

It was also a fantastic performance from Saviel who combined well with Salima and Saizi.

At one point, Saviel created numerous chances for the rookies but they were not clinical enough in front hence taking a point from the game they mostly dominated.

Saviel had several shots at goal and he nearly found the back of the net in the 53rd minute when his shot was well saved by Dedza Dynamos goalkeeper Andrew Mtinkhulu.

It was a good show for the youngsters who have tested Super League football as they look at developing their careers further.

At Ekwendeni Hammers, Magaleta and Demakude played for the Northern Region-based side when they played out to a goalless draw at home to Kamuzu Barracks.

Magaleta, who was signed by head coach Kalisto Pasuwa in the 2022 season, failed to leave a mark and was sent to Hammers to have more game time.

The decision to send him on loan has helped him a lot as he has featured for his new team in all the friendly matches.

And in the first week of the new season, Magaleta played the full 90 minutes despite failing to help his team secure all the points.

Another loanee, Demakude, came in as a second-half substitute in the 68th minute for his first league appearance.

Overall, it was a good weekend for our loanees as they experienced the thrills and spills of Super League football, and we are looking forward to seeing them in action for the rest of their loan period.

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