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Match preview: Moyale vs Bullets

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets will wrap up the Northern Region outing with another crucial TNM Super League match against Moyale Barracks at Rumphi Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

The People’s Team will go into this clash straight from a hard-fought 1-1 result against Ekwendeni Hammers at the same venue in which Kalisto Pasuwa’s charges had to come from behind to earn a point on Saturday.

With the title race reaching its boiling point, the defending champions have to do whatever it takes to get all the points to keep within distance of the current log leaders, Mighty Mukuru Wanderers.

However, playing at a very bumpy and dry pitch, coupled with strong winds, will make Kalisto Pasuwa’s men sweat for all the points against a side that is fighting relegation with few games left to play.

Bullets are second in the table with 44 points from 21 games, three behind Wanderers, who on Monday lost 1-0 to Silver Strikers and have played four games more than The People’s Team.

Form Guide 

Bullets are coming from a 1-1 draw with Hammers on Saturday. But before this, Bullets had three successive wins in the TNM Super League, FDH Bank Cup and the Airtel Top 8.

The People’s Team earned a hard-fought 1-0 victory over Bangwe All Stars in the league before travelling to Lilongwe for the FDH Bank Cup final at Bingu National Stadium last week.

Pasuwa’s charges ran riot with a comfortable 3-0 win over Mafco FC to successfully win the cup for a second year running.

Their next assignment was another important game against Civil Service United in the Airtel Top 8 quarterfinal first leg at Civo Stadium on Wednesday when they registered a 2-0 win over the Servants to take a massive step towards reaching the last four of the competition, with the second leg set for 28 October.

Tuesday’s opponents drew 1-1 with Wanderers and lost 3-0 to Mighty Tigers before recording another 1-1 stalemate against Dedza Dynamos. From the last three games played, they only earned two out of the possible nine points to move up to 11th in the standings with 31 points from 26 games.

Going into Tuesday afternoon’s tie, Moyale has further dropped into the bottom three and currently sits in 14th position on the 16-member log table after losing three points to Civil Service United following a determination by the Super League of Malawi as the Lions of Kaning’ina were found guilty of featuring a suspended player during their 1-0 victory over the Servants early this month.

Head-to-Head

The game of football is played within four white lines of the field, and every game presents new challenges and opportunities.

However, the history books also provide content whenever matches of this nature come about, and we gathered some statistics ranging from the 2008 season to date, which has mostly been dominated by The People’s Team.

Of the last 29 matches between the two sides, Bullets have won 19 and Moyale only three times, with the rest of the games ending in draws.

The People’s Team has scored 49 goals against Moyale while conceding 19 and the Lions of Kaning’ina have scored 18 goals past Bullets in those meetings.

Our last TNM Super League meeting saw Pasuwa’s charges beat their opponents 3-1 at Kamuzu Stadium courtesy of a strike each from Lanjesi Nkhoma, Hassan Kajoke and Anthony Mfune. Moyale scored their consolation goal through Raphael Phiri.

Bullets’ highest-scoring game against Moyale Barracks was in the 2020/21 season when they hammered the opposition 5-1 at Kamuzu Stadium.

The last time the soldiers recorded a win over Bullets was in the 2020/21 season at Mzuzu Stadium courtesy of a lone strike from Lloyd Njaliwa, who is now in Mozambican.

Summary of results

Bullets’ wins: 19

Moyale’s wins: 3

Drawn matches: 7

Highest scoring match: Bullets 5-1 Moyale (2020/21 season).

Team News

Midfielder Chawanangwa Gumbo’s availability against Moyale is doubtful after he limped off during the final training session on Monday. He will have to be assessed further to see if he will be available for selection or not.

Apart from Gumbo, no fresh injuries have been reported for Pasuwa charges.

What the head coach said

On his anticipation from Moyale Barracks…

Always like any game that we play, the approach has and will always be the same. When we face these teams, they up their gear and come hard on us. They always make sure to stop us from playing, and with the kind of pitches that we use, we need to quickly adjust to the conditions of the pitch.

You saw last time when we played Ekwendeni Hammers, it was windy and the pitch itself was dry and bumpy and we resorted to using long balls where we were failing to deal with them most of the time, ending up seeing them on top of us, but we have been talking to the boys and I think whatever we have talked about, they will take it to the game and see how we will fare.

On what needs to be done to collect points…

The problem we are having is this frequent travel. We were in Lilongwe, then we proceeded to Mzuzu, and it is also some hours from Mzuzu to Rumphi where we are playing our games. We go there, it’s hot, bumpy and windy, it’s something very difficult for the boys especially when we consider that they are not recovering well in terms of how we manage players. I think at this point, the recovery part of it will be very key to ourselves as we go into the final league matches.

On Wanderers coach Mark Harrison’s comments on the title race…

As Bullets, we don’t talk about other teams. Let them talk about us. By the fact that they talk about us, it means they know there is something in us. If we are just a team that plays, why can’t he talk about Chitipa or other teams? We are Bullets, and we will do what Bullets is supposed to do. Then we see at the end of the season what we will have.

How to follow the game

The game will kick off at 15h00 and will be streamed on FIFA+. You can also catch all the updates on our Facebook and Twitter channels.

Match officials

Meluce Nyirenda will be the centre referee as we face Moyale Barracks in the TNM Super League at Rumphi Stadium this afternoon.

Referee: Meluce Nyirongo

Assistant Referee 1: Clemence Kanduku

Assistant Referee 2: Junior Mwakifwamba

Fourth Official: Newton Nyirenda

Match Assessor: Winston Chikoza

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