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Pasuwa: We shouldn’t consider Wanderers a weak side

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Kalisto Pasuwa believes Mighty Mukuru Wanderers will not be a weak side as they face FCB Nyasa Big Bullets on Saturday afternoon.

All roads lead to Kamuzu Stadium this weekend as the two rivals clash in the first Blantyre derby of the 2023 TNM Super League campaign.

Wanderers have won one out of their four recent games, losing twice and registering one draw to remain third in the standings.

While Pasuwa’s men return to Kamuzu Stadium in the aftermath of a goalless draw away to Kamuzu Barracks last weekend, Mark Harrison’s charges are also coming from a 1-1 stalemate against Dedza Dynamos at the Soccer Mecca.

Our head coach anticipates a highly charged opponent ready to pounce on Bullets, therefore warning his men not to approach the derby lightly.

“My players shouldn’t consider them [Wanderers] a weaker side because they drew last week, because when playing against us, they can put up maximum performance.

“Every player needs to be in a derby [mood] and as Bullets, we know what we want, and each one in the house shouldn’t take them lightly because they are coming from a draw.

“We should take them as Wanderers because in all the games that we have been playing, they have been very close to us and a team that will have a positive mind will carry the day. We need to be serious about this game,” he told club media ahead of the fixture.

Added Pasuwa: “I am anticipating a very highly charged Wanderers and I know the aggression which is there. It’s very unfortunate that their supporters pounced on them last time, but we are the ones on the pitch. We don’t go to lose a game because we also need salaries from the games as part of our jobs.

“These guys will come hard on us as usual to prove a point that they are still in the race despite some setbacks suffered in recent weeks.”

Bullets will be playing away on Saturday as the two Malawian football giants share Kamuzu Stadium as their home venue.

While Wanderers have had mixed results at Kamuzu Stadium this season, registering three wins, one draw and one loss, scoring five goals in five games, The People’s Team has been dominant at home, winning all five matches in all competitions this season, finding the back of the net 19 times.

Playing away in five outings, Bullets have recorded two wins, three draws and one loss as their neighbours have managed two wins away where they have drawn twice and lost one.

Commenting on his team’s away record, Pasuwa reiterated that as he continues rebuilding his side after losing several regulars at the end of last season, the current squad is still in the process of mastering the resilience of play away from Kamuzu Stadium where the pitches are not in good condition.

“It’s only this season where we are struggling when playing away from home, but I emphasized that we have promoted youngsters into the senior team. When we are home, we do wonders,” responded the gaffer.

“We can even take someone who hasn’t been playing and he will perform because the surface is okay, they can pass the ball [and] dominate possession, but we always struggle with secondary balls when we play on bumpy pitches, something to do with the new team and it will surely pass as the team will get together.”

The defending champions go into this match trailing Silver Strikers with three points, but the head coach assured there will be no pressure on his boys, saying “It’s a marathon.”

“I can’t give myself and the team any pressure. I still maintain that we wait till the end of the season, and then we talk about [defending the league]. We are in a race. It’s a marathon. We play these derbies, and this is not the first time to face Wanderers. We just need to know what’s at stake and what’s coming ahead.”

The head coach also commented on his players on his injury list, saying that injuries are slowly affecting his team, especially in defence where some members have been on the sidelines for several weeks and will not be available for the derby on Saturday.

“We have depth but then we have seven players injured and the biggest problem is that we are mostly affected in one position which is the defence, but we will see what we will do with the players we have at the moment.”

With ten games played in the league this term, the two teams are separated by three points, with Bullets sitting in second position with 21 points and Wanderers occupying the third position with 18 points.

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