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Match preview: Chitipa Utd v Bullets

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets will be on the road for our second away TNM Super League fixture against Chitipa United at Karonga Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

This will be our third league fixture in the 2024 campaign, having played out two back-to-back draws against Dedza Dynamos and Mighty Tigers.

Our trip to the North allows Kalisto Pasuwa’s men to rejuvenate their season to keep pace with the current early pacesetters, Silver Strikers, Creck Sporting Club and Mzuzu City Hammers.

Form guide

Bullets and this weekend’s opponents have had a mixed start to the new season. The 2023 quadruple winners had a frustrating start to their campaign as they gave away a lead to draw 1-all with Dedza Dynamos.

In Matchweek 2, The People’s Team hosted Tigers at Kamuzu Stadium. Without several key players due to illnesses, the defending champions settled for another draw to drop further into the 11th position with two points.

This is our worst start to a new campaign since the 2020/21 season when we collected four points from the possible nine in three matches.

Our next opponents started the campaign with a 2-0 loss away to Silver Strikers, but they made amends with a comfortable 4-1 win over their rivals Karonga United at Sunday’s venue, courtesy of a hat-trick from Ramadhan Ntafu and a lone strike from Stimela Muyira.

Chitipa’s form at home

Since last season, the Northern Region-based side has only lost two games at home, losing 2-1 to Bangwe All Stars and 1-0 to Silver. But since then, they have made their place a no-go zone area for any visiting side.

Bullets’ first loss in the 2023 season was against Chitipa at the same venue. The People’s Team lost 1-0 through Collins Okumu’s second-half own goal.

Their dangerous men

Ntafu, the first player to score a hat-trick in the 2024 season, is probably their dangerous man in the field of play. His consistency in front of the goal helped the team finish in 4th position last campaign.

He has an eye for goal, is very quick on the ball and is technically gifted. He knows how to create spaces in the attacking third behind the opposition defence.

The Northern side has an excellent attacking midfielder in Rajab Nyirenda who dictates play in the middle of the park. He is one to watch on Sunday.

Muyira is another dangerous winger who operates from the right into the box. When in possession, he presses with pace and can take on defenders. He has pace, dribbling skills, an eye for goal and shooting accuracy.

Head-to-Head

The history between Bullets and Chitipa isn’t huge, considering they have only met in less than 13 matches.

At Karonga Stadium, the hosts have won once against Bullets. The victory came in June last season through Okumu’s own goal. Despite the single win, The Lions of Fort Hill have played second fiddle to The People’s Team in previous meetings.

In the 2017 season, they lost 1-0 at home before losing 2-0 at Chilomoni Stadium in the reverse fixture.

The same year, they got relegated and played the entire 2018 season in the Northern Region Premier Division League.

In 2019, they returned to the top-flight league and met Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium in the first leg. Pasuwa’s side blew away a 2-goal lead to draw 2-2, a result that nearly cost them the title, but ended up winning the championship.

In the second round, Bullets travelled to Karonga intending to reduce the gap against Mighty Mukuru Wanderers in the title race, having dropped important in the first round.

Bullets ran riot as they hammered them 3-0, courtesy of goals from Chiukepo Msowoya, Chimwemwe Idana and Hassan Kajoke and moved to two points within the log ladies, who had lost 2-3 at home to Moyale Barracks.

In the 2020/21 season, Bullets registered a double over Chitipa, winning 2-0 in the first round at Karonga before recording the same margin at Kamuzu in the reverse fixture.

There was no meeting between the two teams in the 2022 season as Chitipa got relegated to the second tier.

Last season, Chitipa won the first-round fixture 1-0 at their base to end our unbeaten run last term, before losing 2-0 at Kamuzu Stadium in the final tie of the campaign.

In cup competitions, the two teams have met twice, with Bullets winning on both occasions.

In 2018, we played Chitipa in the then Fisd Challenge Cup quarterfinals at Kamuzu Stadium and Bullets hammered them 5-0 to progress to the semis.

We met again in the last-8 of the 2022 FDH Bank Cup at Rumphi Stadium where Babatunde Adepoju and Anthony Mfune guided Pasuwa’s side to a 2-0 victory to set up a semifinal showdown with Wanderers and went on to win 4-0 and progressed to the final where we defeated our junior team 3-1 to win the competition for the first time.

Team news

Pasuwa has received a massive boost to his squad as all the players who were out in our last match due to illnesses, have recovered and are part of the travelling squad.

The People’s Team was without goalkeeper Innocent Nyasulu, defenders Blessings Mpokera and Cylde Senaji, midfielders Patrick Mwaungulu and Lloyd Aaron as well as strikers Babatunde Adepoju, Anthony Mfune and Ephraim Kondowe due to flu.

However, Crispin Mapemba, Maxwell Phodo and Chikumbutso Salima have been ruled out and did not travel with the team to Karonga due to injuries and illness.

Mapemba is ill while Phodo and Salima are nursing injuries they sustained against Dedza Dynamos and Mighty Tigers, respectively.

How to follow the game

Sunday’s TNM Super League game against Chitipa United will kick off at 14h30 and will be live on Mpira TV and FIFA+. You can also catch all the updates on our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Match officials

Referee: David Chinoko

Assistant 1: Samuel Fudzulani

Assistant 2: Lameck Phiri

Fourth Official: Rose Zimba

Match Assesor: Zuza Nyondo

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