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Match preview: Dedza vs Bullets

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The international break is over and the TNM Super League returns, with FCB Nyasa Big Bullets making a crucial trip away to Dedza Dynamos on Thursday afternoon.

Dropping six points from the last three games means the defending champions have to collect four points from our remaining three fixtures to retain the title for a fifth consecutive season.

With just two points above the second-placed Mighty Mukuru Wanderers, who have played a game more than us, a win on Thursday will take Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges to another championship success, but they need to overcome a resilient side that has only lost once at home.

Form Guide

The People’s Team has failed to win in any of their last three games, bringing Wanderers and Silver Strikers back into the title contention.

Bullets recorded 1-1 back-to-back draws with Wanderers and Red Lions and went on to register a 0-0 stalemate against Blue Eagles just before the international break.

Kalisto Pasuwa’s men found themselves in a similar situation in the 2020/21 season in which they brought back the two teams in the race after dropping four points in Mzuzu, losing 1-0 to Moyale Barracks before a goalless draw with Mzuzu Warriors.

We went on to draw 1-1 against Mafco FC and lost 1-0 to Wanderers, results which almost dented our title ambitions as Wanderers and Silver closed the gap to just two points.

Bullets’ next fixture was an away trip to the Capital City to face Kamuzu Barracks where Pasuwa’s side comfortably won 3-0 to retain the championship.

Two years down the line, Maule have to win in Dedza to fend off pressure from the current two title contenders who have vowed to keep on pushing until the final drop of their blood.

A win will see The People’s Team needing just a point in the last two games, against Karonga United and Silver as the season is now edging closer to its end on 3rd December.

On the other hand, Dedza is not yet safe from relegation. They are one of the seven teams fighting for survival depending on other results going into Matchweek 30 of this campaign.

As they fight for survival, they are also eyeing a top-eight finish with only two games left for them to play.

Dynamos go into Thursday’s clash against the defending champions straight from three consecutive defeats to Bangwe All Stars, Wanderers and Civil Service United.

Gilbert Chirwa’s side succumbed to a 3-0 defeat to Bangwe before losing 1-0 at home to Wanderers, ending their unbeaten run at home before they recorded another 3-0 hammering at the hands of Civil in Lilongwe.

Head-to-Head

We have faced them thrice in the league. In their first term in 2022, we first played them at Balaka Stadium in the first round of that campaign as Babatunde Adepoju scored the only goal to collect all the points for Pasuwa’s men, who were 2-1 winners in the reverse fixture on the final day of the campaign, courtesy of a strike in each half from Adepoju and Kajoke.

In a cup competition, we hammered them 5-1 in the FDH Bank Cup semifinals in September at Kamuzu Stadium.

Team News

The defending champions have received a massive boost with the return of goalkeeper Rbason Chiyenda, centre-backs Clyde Senaji and Collins Okumu as well as midfielder Ernest Petro.

What Kalisto Pasuwa said ahead of the match

“The boys are okay now. At least they have refreshed. I have been complaining about recovery, but because of the international break from which we had four to five days of resting, we are okay.

We also had some of the players who were injured, but they came back. The likes of Ernest Petro, Clyde Senaji, Rabson Chiyenda and Collins Okumu are all back and to the other guys, it was only fatigue which was affecting us and by now, they will give us a better performance in terms of intensity.

We are playing a good side, at their ground. Remember the last meeting ended 2-2 in which they played very well and we have been talking to our boys in terms of how to approach these kinds of games when we play away from home, we are being affected because of the second balls that most of these teams use when facing us. But, by now, we should have adjusted to this system, and we will try to take up points.

I have been talking about putting too much pressure on the boys due to the highest number of games they play in a season. We load them with a lot of things at the same time. We play [CAF] Champions League, [TNM] Super League and other cups, plus other games organized by the government or FAM.

If you can see, we have got different types of players that we use and different systems and approaches to every match. It is very unfortunate to get more injuries when playing games, and most of the guys, the spine of the team, end up getting injured, hence struggling in some of these games.

But again, they have to know the meaning of playing for Bullets because we play too many games within the shortest period, something that needs to be looked into, because we cannot be playing games the way we have been having them this season where today it’s a league match and after three days, a cup game. We need to rest to avoid a mental load on the players, but we are Bullets, we have to learn very quickly and the hard way.

We have been struggling in the central midfield after losing Ernest Petro to an injury. He is one of the spines for the team, and having him back is a massive boost because he will bring stability to the team.”

How to follow the game

Thursday’s tie against Dedza Dynamos will kick off at 15:00 and you can catch all the match updates on our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Match officials

For the first time this season, Kondwani Kamwendo will be in charge as centre referee for our away match at Dedza Dynamos on Thursday afternoon.

Referee: Kondwani Kamwendo

Assistant Referee 1: Evans Msonda

Assistant Referee 2: Samson Wasili

Fourth Official: Chidziwitso Simbi

Match Assessor: Christina Chioko

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