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Preview: Bullets vs Mafco

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets are at home this afternoon welcoming Mafco for our first TNM Super League match at Kamuzu Stadium this season.

The People’s Team last appeared at the Soccer Mecca for a match on 2 April in a 5-2 win over Red Lions in a pre-season encounter.

Mafco hit the road for the first time since November and are meeting Kalisto Pasuwa’s side which is looking to bounce back from a 1-1 draw away to Silver Strikers as The People’s Team started the title defence last weekend.

Initially, today’s match was supposed to be played on Saturday, but it was moved this afternoon due to the unavailability of Kamuzu Stadium on matchday 2 of the 2023 Super League campaign.

Mafco will be coming to Blantyre after defeating Chitipa United 2-1 in their first match at Chitowe Stadium last weekend.

Form Guide

Bullets are coming from a 1-1 draw away to The Central Bankers, the first time in two years for Pasuwa’s charges to start the league campaign with a draw.

In the 2020/21 season, Bullets were held to a goalless draw by Blue Eagles at home but went on to win the championship in a season where the team registered more defeats (four) for the first time in more than a decade.

However, Pasuwa described last week’s result as “a point gained than two points lost” after watching his side put up a spirited performance to stop Silver Strikers from walking away with all the points at the Bingu National Stadium.

As for Stereo Gondwe’s side, they registered a hard-fought 2-1 win over Chitipa United to start their 2023 campaign on a positive note.

Team News

Bullets will be without Precious Sambani and Gomezgani Chirwa, who are now working on fitness levels following their recovery from injuries and will likely resume full-time training this week.

Hassan Kajoke also remains on the sidelines as he is now undergoing the final stages of his individual sessions after missing the entire pre-season preparations due to personal reasons and Pasuwa expects to have his 2020/21 TNM Super League top goal scorer back with the entire squad soon.

As for Mafco, the Salima-based Malawi Defence Force side has no injury concerns ahead of the tie.

Head-to-Head

A lone strike from Precious Sambani handed Bullets a hard-fought 1-0 victory the last time they hosted Mafco at Kamuzu Stadium in the first round of last season.

It was an entertaining match as the two teams showcased a lot of qualities in passing, attacking, and defending. Bullets, however, had an upper hand in creating so many chances but failed to capitalize and score more goals.

Since 2010, the two teams have met 21 times, with Bullets registering ten wins, ten matches ending in draws, and Mafco having one win over The People’s Team last season away at Dedza Stadium to end our 26-game unbeaten run.

The only season in which they didn’t play each other was in 2019 when Mafco was playing in the Chipiku Central Region Football League following their relegation.

Bullets did a double over the soldiers in the 2010 season when they beat them 4-3 at Kamuzu Stadium before a 0-1 win away at Chitowe in the reverse fixture.

In 2011, the two teams played a goalless draw in the first round before they also shared a point apiece with a 1-1 draw in Dwangwa.

The following season saw Bullets collecting four out of the possible six when they beat the soldiers 0-2 at Chitowe before a 2-2 draw in the final fixture at Kamuzu Stadium.

Mafco got the better of Bullets in 2013 when they won 2-0 at Chitowe and played to a goalless draw at Kamuzu Stadium in the reverse fixture.

2014 saw the two sides sharing points with 1-1 draws in the two fixtures.

But Bullets collected six points in the 2015 season when they registered 1-0 victories over Mafco in their two meetings.

Bullets beat Mafco 2-0 in the first-round match of the 2016 season and forced them to a 2-2 draw at Chitowe.

The People’s Team then won 1-2 in the first-round match of the 2017 season at Chitowe but failed to beat the soldiers at Kamuzu Stadium as the match ended goalless.

2018 saw Bullets claiming a double again when they hammered the visitors 3-1 at Kamuzu Stadium and 0-1 away at Chitowe in a season in which the soldiers got relegated from the top-flight league.

They met again in 2020/21 when the Salima-based side returned to the TNM Super League, and the two matches ended 0-0 and 1-1.

Last season, Bullets won the first leg match 1-0 at Kamuzu Stadium courtesy of Sambani’s strike but lost the return leg at Dedza Stadium through a Zikani Sichinga first-half goal to stop The People’s Team from winning the league title with an invincible record.

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