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Match preview: Bullets vs Tigers

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets return to domestic football with a crucial home assignment in the TNM Super League against Mighty Tigers at Kamuzu Stadium on Thursday afternoon.

It’s the first game of the four fixtures Bullets will have to fulfil in the next 12 days.

After the midweek encounter, Bullets will again be at home on Sunday when they welcome Dedza Dynamos in the FDH Bank Cup semifinals.

The People’s Team will then host Bangwe All Stars in the Super League on Wednesday before departing for the Democratic Republic of Congo for the return leg of the CAF Champions League second preliminary round against TP Mazembe in Lubumbashi on 30 September.

Going into this Thursday afternoon’s tie against Tigers, Bullets may look clear favourites against the Kanjedza-based outfit, but Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges will have to be at their level best to overcome a side that forced them to a hard-fought 1-1 draw in the first round despite a dominant display from the defending champions.

A win over Kau Kau will see the defending champions move to the top of the table with 40 points from 19 games.

Our rivals Mighty Mukuru Wanderers are currently in position one after they dislodged Chitipa United from the summit of the standings following their 2-1 victory over Karonga United on Wednesday.

The Nomads have 40 points from 21 games but have scored 24 goals, while Bullets have found the back of the net 34 times.

Form Guide

Maule are coming from a disappointing 1-0 home defeat to Mazembe in the Champions League despite dominating the majority part of the encounter against the Congolese giants at the Bingu National Stadium on Sunday.

But the last league action for The People’s Team saw them claiming a hard-fought 3-2 win over Civil Service United, a match in which at some point, Bullets were 2-0 down before the half-hour mark.

The highly spirited performances against Civil and Mazembe will give Pasuwa’s men the much-needed confidence going into this important fixture considering that, of the three fellow title contenders, Bullets have played fewer games due to our continental football engagements.

In the current campaign, the defending champions have found the going very tough as they, for the first time since last season, have registered more draws than they did in the entire 2022 season.

Last season, Bullets only dropped points at home against Civil, Blue Eagles and Kamuzu Barracks.

But this term, the 16-time league winners have already registered two draws at home against Tigers and Dynamos with 18 matches played.

Bullets will be seeking to reclaim their dominance at home, which they are known for as they have made Kamuzu Stadium a no-go zone area for any visiting team.

As for the opponents, they are currently in top form, having recorded three straight wins to move out of the relegation zone.

Tigers defeated Extreme FC 1-0 before recording a hard-fought 2-1 win over current log leaders, Chitipa United. Before visiting The People’s Team, they also registered a 1-0 win over Red Lions to take their tally to 27 points from 22 games and sit in eleventh position in the standings.

They will be determined to maintain their current form as they keep pushing for a top 8 finish for the first time in years and possibly, run away from relegation as the league is slowly coming to its end.

Head-to-Head

Over the last decade, Bullets and Tigers have met 27 times in the Super League, with the defending champions winning the majority of encounters.

Since 2009, The People’s Team has registered 17 wins, ending up on the losing side just two times, drawing eight times while scoring 44 goals and conceding 16.

The highest-scoring victory over Tigers came in the first round of the last season when Pasuwa’s men showed no mercy by putting five goals past the Kau-Kau boys.

Tigers’ last win over Bullets was in November 2011 when the Kau Kau boys beat The People’s Team 3-0 in the league. They have since danced to the tune of Bullets, who have collected points over and over again apart from the first round of this campaign when the spoils were shared following a 1-1 stalemate.

Summary of results

Tigers wins: 2

Bullets wins: 17

Draws: 3

Total Tigers goals scored: 16

Total Bullets goals scored: 44

Tigers’ biggest win over Bullets: 3-0 in 2011

Bullets’ biggest win over Tigers: 5-0 in 2022.

Team News

Injuries continue hitting Pasuwa’s squad as two more players will not take any part in Thursday’s match due to various degrees of setbacks. Striker Maxwell Phodo and Peter Banda are recovering from injuries that made them miss Sunday’s CAF Champions League match against Mazembe. The duo joined Mike Mkwate, Alick Lungu and Stanley Billiat on the list of injured players.

Pasuwa will also be without defender Clyde Senaji and Precious Phiri, who sustained injuries during our game against TP Mazembe.

Pasuwa will welcome back defender Yamikani Fodya, who missed the CAF Champions League clash against TP Mazembe due to the red card he received when we defeated Dragon FC at Bingu National Stadium a fortnight ago.

What the coach said ahead of the match

The tactician says he anticipates a very tough outing against the Kanjedza-based outfit.

“We need to quickly adjust so that we play well. We are playing a team that played very well against us in the first round, marching us toe to toe and making us run for our money. We have to avoid complacency at all cost because if we look at these opponents, our games against them have never been easy and we need to be at our level best for us to collect maximum points.”

Commenting on what his charges have learned out of their defeat to TP Mazembe, the tactician believes Bullets will strive to transform whatever they learned from the continental competition into domestic competitions.

“You saw the way that game was being played. Very aggressive when going to the ball, and we also need to win duels, change of pace according to the areas we are playing, and quickly look at spaces and utilize them. We have learned one to two things that we can use and improve our game. This needs our mind to quickly switch to the local games that are coming.”

“My main worries are injuries that have hit our squad. In the game that we are playing on Thursday, I will be without Clyde Senaji and Precious Phiri after they sustained injuries during our game against TP Mazembe. It’s very tricky every time we change our team, but again, I have been telling all the players to be ready for action because as Bullets, we play so many games so we need every player to play their role and prepare for whatever is coming.”

How to follow the game

You can catch all the match updates on our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Match officials

Mwayi Msungama will be the man in charge of this afternoon’s TNM Super League tie as we return to Kamuzu Stadium to face Mighty Tigers.

Referee: Mwayi Msungama

Assistant Referee 1: Mailosi Fanuel

Assistant Referee 2: Wales Chisi

Fourth Official: Gift Chicco

Match Assessor: Hestings Ntuntha

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