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Preview: Bullets vs Moyale

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FCB Nyasa Big Bullets will host Moyale Barracks in Matchweek 4 of the 2023 TNM Super League at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday.

The 14h30 fixture will be the 29th meeting between the two sides since 2008.

Our previous encounter at the same venue ended 3-1 in favour of Kalisto Pasuwa’s team, a result that saw The People’s Team winning the title for a fourth consecutive season.

As we count down to our next intriguing match, here is what you need to know about Nicolas Mhango’s side.

Our opponents are off the back of an invigorating 1-0 win over fellow military side, Kamuzu Barracks, last Sunday at the Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.

This was their first league victory in the 2023 season and their first game away from home, having played all their opening two games at Mzuzu Stadium.

Moyale dropped two points at home when they were forced to a 1-1 draw by Karonga United in their first match of the season, before collecting a point in their goalless draw against Ekwendeni Hammers in their second fixture.

With their first league win days ago, the Lions of Kaning’ina will be heading into Saturday’s tie believing they can record their first victory over Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium.

Of the 29 previous league meetings, Bullets have had 18 wins against Moyale’s three, with seven matches ending in draws.

The highest-scoring match between these two old rivals was a 5-1 victory for Bullets at Kamuzu Stadium in the 2020/21 season.

In the 2022 season, Pasuwa’s charges scored 42 goals at home, becoming the highest-scoring team at home in a single football league calendar.

The last time Moyale recorded a win over us was in the 2020/21 season through Lloyd Njaliwa’s lone strike at Mzuzu Stadium.

Ironically, it was the only season in which Bullets registered more league defeats (four) in one season since the 2010 season.

Moyale’s strength

From the statistics, the soldiers haven’t been an offensive side in the opening three matches, only managing two goals in 270 minutes, and conceding two goals.

The majority of Moyale’s goals originate from their wide men. Usually set through their line of defence, their wide men fondly unsettle their opponents through well-calculated counter-attacking moves.

If their wingers are closed down, they opt for long secondary balls of which their three foxes in the box, Raphael Phiri, Gastin Simkonda and Hassan Upindi capitalize with their aerial skills.

In the midfield, they have a workaholic in Brown Magaga, who, with his vast experience, is the link from the defence to the attack.

Magaga brings stability in the midfield and frees the wingers in the attacking zone to create spaces for their forwards.

Their coach

For the past two seasons, the team was in the hands of Prichard Mwansa in the absence of the head coach Nicolas Mhango, who was assigned other duties in the Malawi Defence Force.

But at the beginning of the new season, the Mzuzu-based side brought back Mhango as the head coach, replacing Mwansa, who is no longer with the team.

Going by the statistics, Mhango has never beaten Bullets at any venue in the Super League.

The only coach to have tested victory over The People’s Team was Mwansa in the 2020/21 season.

Current position

Moyale are currently fifth in the standings with five points from three games.

Pasuwa pre-match interview

Speaking to club media ahead of Saturday’s tie, the gaffer commented on how he will approach our next match playing at home against a military side, saying he expects a different strategy to the previous game against the rookies away from home where Bullets did not win it easily.

“It will be a different approach. But also in football, if you are in possession of the ball, if you lose it, you need to win it back, so it’s that kind of a character that one needs to understand when he is playing football. It’s not a case of saying [we are playing] home [or away]. We should switch on to say we need to be offensive; we need to put everything in the right place for us to look like a team which is [playing] at home.”

Despite Moyale not being sharp in front of goals in the new season, Pasuwa expects the visitors to be a different side because every team wants to beat Bullets.

“Yes, they can be a team not offensive when playing other teams [but] I promise you, this time around, they will be offensive on Bullets. Expect a good game against Moyale Barracks.”

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