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Pasuwa: We’re not going to take this game lightly

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Kalisto Pasuwa has declared that FCB Nyasa Big Bullets will go all out in the midweek fixture against Ndirande Stars in the FDH Bank Cup round-of-32 at Kamuzu Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

For the second time in three seasons, The People’s Team will battle against a premier division side for a place in the last-16 of the competition.

The head coach reminded his players how Bullets Reserves, a second-tier side, made them sweat for a place in the round-of-16 in the 2021 campaign, thus the need to have a positive approach when they start the title defence on Wednesday afternoon.

“We are not going to take this game lightly. You saw the last time we played our reserve side, we had a torrid time for us to go through them though we had much of the possession.

“These are youngsters, full of energy, and they can run throughout. They are also motivated to play against us, and you will see the way they will be running. We need to be very tactical and also play to the weakness of the opposition so that we can quickly use that against them.

“It’s a knockout game. We need to progress within the 90 minutes, so the approach should be different from how we play or approach league matches,” Pasuwa told club media ahead of the game Bullets will play two days before travelling to Lilongwe for a TNM Super League fixture.

Wednesday’s tie will be the first-ever meeting between our first team and Ndirande Stars, who play in the ThumbsUp Southern Region Football League and are currently second in Group A with 14 points from seven games.

Wednesday’s opponents

Ma Stars are five points behind log leaders, Bangwe All Stars Reserves, a side they eliminated in the regional play-offs of this competition by registering a convincing 5-2 win at Mpira Stadium last month.

So far, they have scored thirteen goals and conceded six going into Wednesday’s national cup fixture looking to cause an upset against the TNM Super League and FDH Bank Cup holders.

Ndirande is coached by former Bullets players Kuluwa Ngwira and Simeon Kapuza, who have vowed to make history by eliminating the defending champions.

Team News

The defending champions will be without eight players due to injuries and national team engagements.

Defenders Clyde Senaji and Nickson Nyasulu will not be part of the match as they are recovering from injuries.

The midfield duo of Mike Mkwate and Stanley Billiat are also out of this match due to injuries.

Mkwate suffered a complete tibiofibular fracture to his right leg in Lilongwe on Saturday whilst Billiat has a knee injury which he will be nursing for the next two weeks.

Striker Chinedu Okafor also sustained an ankle injury and he will not be around for the next few days.

Lanjesi Nkhoma, Blessings Mpokera and Alick Lungu are on international duty away in Mozambique where Malawi is facing Ethiopia this afternoon in the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.

Pasuwa’s reaction to Mike Mkwate’s injury

The Bullets number 8 suffered a complete tibiofibular fracture to his right leg during last Saturday’s ceremonial game against the Central Bankers at Bingu National Stadium and the gaffer, who was not available during our trip to Lilongwe, described the injury as a big blow to his plans, losing a very experienced player in the midfield.

“We have been trying to build up our central midfield and having Mike around we thought we have got experience in a player who has been around, who knew how to play in the central midfield, unfortunately, he will spend several weeks in the terraces after sustaining a horrific injury and we will try to do with the boys who are available for selection,” he commented.

The head coach on a tight schedule

Having returned from Lilongwe on Saturday night after losing 3-2 to Silver Strikers to host Ndirande Stars tomorrow, The People’s Team will be back on the road for a TNM Super League encounter against Kamuzu Barracks away at Civo Stadium this weekend.

Commenting on the schedule, Pasuwa said: “Definitely it is a concern for me. As you can see, we are having five to six players injured and this is due to how we have been travelling. We have been moving up and down, just a fortnight ago, we were in Karonga, we came back and travelled to Lilongwe last week and we are going back to Lilongwe again this week and this isn’t good for the players because they also need to recover.

“Having another game away from home in the shortest period will need us to manage these players, but again the problem is the depth because some of the guys are with the national team and others are injured, so we are playing on Wednesday without nine of our players and we have to select from the few players that are there.”

A win for Bullets over Ndirande Stars on Wednesday afternoon will book us a place in the next phase of the competition and will face the winner between Balaka FC and Chilumba Barracks.

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