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Match Preview: Bullets vs Blue Eagles

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A thrilling TNM Super League encounter awaits this afternoon as defending champions FCB Nyasa Big Bullets welcome last season’s runners-up, Blue Eagles, at Kamuzu Stadium.

Both teams are currently struggling for results, with Bullets registering their second goalless draw in succession whilst Eagles were beaten 1-0 away to Ekwendeni Hammers last Sunday.

Victory for Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges will see them dislodging Silver Strikers at the top on goal difference as the Central Bankers have been exempted from playing games after they contributed four players to the national team.

On the other hand, a win for the Area 30 cops will take them further up the table in the standings as the battle for the top four intensifies.

Form Guide 

The two back-to-back goalless draws away to Kamuzu Barracks and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers meant Pasuwa’s charges failed to score for the third time this season, having lost to Chitipa United 1-0 a month ago.

The People’s Team have had a mixed start to the season, which has seen them drop to the second position with 22 points, three behind current early pacesetters Silver Strikers.

In 11 games, the defending champions have six wins, four draws and one loss, scoring 20 goals and conceding five.

As for the Eagles, Sunday’s defeat was their second loss of the season, having won three games and drawing six times. They have scored 12 goals against ten goals they have conceded. They are currently in eighth position with 15 points.

In 2022, the two teams met when both were in the title race. The match ended goalless and eventually ended the visitors’ championship ambitions as they kept on falling in the pecking order.

Months down the line, they meet again. Eagles are not among the top four teams but they will likely push Bullets to the limit knowing that the hosts will be without several players due to injuries and national team engagements.

Head-to-Head

The previous meetings between the two teams saw Bullets recording more wins than their opponents.

The People’s Team has had nine wins from which they scored 18 goals in 18 meetings since the 2013 season whilst Eagles have three wins, with six matches ending in draws.

In 2013, Bullets registered a double over their opponents when they beat them 2-0 in the first round in Lilongwe before completing a 3-2 win in the reverse fixture at Kamuzu Stadium.

In the following season, Maule won 1-0 in Lilongwe before playing out to a 1-all draw in the second round in Blantyre.

Blue Eagle’s biggest win over Bullets came in the 2015 season when we lost 3-0 at Nankhaka Stadium, in a match where The People’s Team had already won the championship. The first-round match at Kamuzu Stadium ended 1-1.

In the 2016 season, Bullets collected four out of the possible six points over the Area 30 side, beating them 1-0 in Blantyre before a 1-1 draw in Lilongwe in the reverse fixture.

2017 saw the two teams sharing three points each as Bullets won in their first meeting with a comfortable 3-0 margin before losing 2-1 to the cops in the return match in Lilongwe.

The defending champions did a double over Sunday’s opponents in the 2018 season, registering 1-0 victories in the two matches.

2019 saw Eagles winning the first-round match 2-1 in Lilongwe before they got hammered 4-0 by Bullets in the final fixture played at Kamuzu Stadium in a season that Pasuwa went on to pip rivals Wanderers to the league title with less than five games left to play. Wanderers had an 11-point lead cut short by The People’s Team.

In the 2020/21 season, the two teams shared the spoils in the first round as they played out to a goalless draw at Kamuzu Stadium in the opening match of that Covid-19 stricken season, before Precious Sambani’s strike in the reverse fixture at Nankhaka gave Bullets a 1-0 victory to collect four out of the possible six points against the Eagles.

Last season the two teams played to a 1-all draw in two matches.

Eagles are unbeaten at Kamuzu Stadium in the last two matches against Bullets.

Team News

Pasuwa will be without Lanjesi Nkhoma, Frank Willard, Patrick Mwaungulu and Alick Lungu due to the national team engagements at the ongoing COSAFA Cup in Durban, South Africa.

Apart from the four, Bullets will also be without Clyde Senaji, Nickson Nyasulu, Mike Mkwate, Ernest Petro and Stanley Billiat due to injuries.

Eagles will be without goalkeeper Brighton Munthali and defender MacDonald Lameck who are also with the national team away in South Africa.

What Pasuwa said ahead of the encounter

“A game that will be normal like other games that we have played and other games that are coming. We need a positive mind and a positive approach. We were held the last time we played a league match [against Mighty Mukuru Wanderers] and didn’t score. This time around, we need to concentrate more on the offensive part for us to create and score goals.

“The mentality when not in possession has to be looked into. We fail to track down by taking more minutes to take the ball away from the opponents and that’s where we have been working on so that it can give confidence to these fringe players who haven’t had more game time than the regulars,” he commented.

The People’s Team has had two back-to-back goalless draws against Kamuzu Barracks and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers, a situation that has been described as ‘worrisome’ by Pasuwa but believes it is a phase that will eventually pass.

“It’s part of football, it happens but again, it can be worrisome. But as I said, we are now working on the attacking side of it where we need to take chances when they come. When [we are] inside the six-yard box, we don’t need to have three, four to five touches, one touch is enough for a player to score. So, we need a lot of movements to create chances in the final third.”

He then challenged the rest of the available players to do the job for the team in the absence of regular players who are either injured or with the national team.

“It’s a positive mind to each and everyone given a chance to play. You can’t be talking of names. Every player is signed to play football, so when given a chance, prove to us that you are part of the guys signed to play and not wait for Patrick Mwaungulu to come in.

“We will end up having injuries like what is happening today, where several players are injured. We wouldn’t have signed 30 players if we only want 11 players to play. That’s why we have a big squad to select from in case of injuries and national team engagements. The extra guys should come in and do the job for the other guys who are not around.”

How to follow the game

The match will be live on Mpira TV and online it will be streamed on FIFA+. You can also catch the match updates on our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Match officials

Mayamiko Kanjere, who was the fourth official during the Blantyre derby against Mighty Mukuru Wanderers a week ago, is the man in charge of officiating at the Kamuzu Stadium this afternoon.

Referee: Mayamiko Kanjere

Assistant Referee 1: Joseph Nyauti

Assistant Referee 2: Henry Bello

Fourth Official: Honest Maulana

Match Assessor: Hestings Ntuntha

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