Bullets fire blank without Idana, held by KB


Nyasa Big Bullets have opened their second round of the 2022 tnm Super League account with a 1-all draw against Kamuzu Barracks at Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

In the absence of their four key players, Chimwemwe Idana, Kesten Simbi, Anthony Mfune and Richard Chimbamba, Kalisto Pasuwa’s led panel threw in Righteous Banda, Nixon Nyasulu, and Clever Nkungula.

However, the absence that was felt much was of the two players, Playmaker, Chimwemwe Idana and defender, Kesten Simbi who missed the sweet match due to suspension as they accumulated three yellow cards consecutively towards the end of the tnm Super League first round.

Idana who plays as a deep laying playmaker has been an influential player for the people’s team in their several matches. He has scored five and provided four assists in the first round.

His absence affected Bullets’ performance in the midfield as they were failing to dominate the game. Pasuwa deployed Blessings Mpokera as a defence cover, Ernest Petro as an attacking midfielder while the forgotten Righteous Banda was granted Idana’s role.

Kamuzu Barracks had the talented Patrick Banda, Gregory Nachipo and Redson Nkhoma in the midfield. The trio overshadowed Bullets’s midfield in the first half.

Their technical ability on the ball, physique paid them off as Chiwoko Boys got the lead in the 19th minute of the game. Goalkeeper Clever Mkungula left his goal line to clear the ball but the ball landed on former Blue Eagles’ midfielder, Gregory Nachipo who headed it home to snatch the lead for the Area 23-based Soldiers.

The goal was also due to miscommunication between the back four. Kirsten Simbi and Hadji Wali made their debut for Bullets on the same day when they played against Silver Strikers in the Charity Shield Cup as Bullets beat Bankers by a goal to nill thanks to Wali’s header.

Wali and Simbi have formed a formidable partnership in the heart of the defence and the absence of the latter was clearly felt at the back. Wali is a young player but able to lead the game, no wonder he has managed to start all Bullets’ 15 games in the first round.

Before KB’s strike, Nyasa Big Bullets would have snatched the lead through Blessings Mpokera whose long-range shot was saved by Kamuzu Barracks goalminder and Captain, Leman Nthala.

Kamuzu Barracks looked very comfortable on the ball and their defence led by Helbert Wayekha, Gilbert Nkhokwe, Sam Chibvunde and Mike Ntonyo was very solid stopping Bullets clever moves in their flanks where Lankesi Nkhoma and Patrick Mwaungulu were operating from.

Kalisto Pasuwa noted the gaps in his midfield at the break, he rested ineffective Righteous Banda and Patrick Mwaungulu for experienced Henry Kabitchi and forgotten Misheck Seleman to win a Lion’s share in the engine room.

Better than first half, Seleman and Kabitch brought to the game and Bullets started to win the balls in the midfield. However, that vision and tricky touches of Chimwemwe Idana were missing.

The people’s team wanted to get an early equaliser in the second half as the full back, Precious Sambani unleashed a thunderous shot outside the penalty area but Leman Nthala was very attentive to deny him from finding the back of the net.

A tactical change was made by Pasuwa as he took out the defensive player, Mpokera for a striker, Hassan Kajoke to force an equaliser and perhaps, a winner.

The tactics paid off just five minutes later as Lanjesi Nkhoma levelled the scores.

Bullets won a free kick on the left side of their offensive zone and Henry Kabitchi spotted Babatunde Adepoju whose header was parried away by Nthalu but on rebound, was Reserve graduate, Lanjesi Nkhoma who nodded it into the right upper corner.

Charles Kamanga made changes to level Bullets pace and he brought Horace Mchoma, Chimwemwe Chisambo, Sammy Chiponda and Blessings Banda.

Just some minutes later, KB took back their possession as they started exchanging brilliant passes using both flanks. They had the chance to steal their parity back as Zeliati Nkhoma’s long drive from the left side hit Mkungula’s left wood.

Bullets broke through the left flank after a colorful exchange of passes between Babatunde Adepoju and Misheck Seleman. The latter had a go to goal with only one defenders ahead of him. He had Kajoke in his company but he opted to rifle his shot wide and it was a gorgeous opportunity for the red family.

Bullets tried to force a winner through the flanks as the creativity in the middle of the pack was not that people used to know them with.

Lanjesi paved way for the pacey Billiati Stanley with just less than 10 minutes to go before the end of the game.

Kajoke outwitted Sam Chibvunde on the right flank before sending a deadly ball to Babatunde but it was cleared away by KB’s well-organised defence.

KB cleared the ball on the line just seconds before the end of the game denying Bullets from finding the winner.

After the game, KB’s players looked not contented with some of the referee’s decisions and they surrounded him, a behaviour worthy of disciplinary action.

Overall, Bullets looked disjointed in the midfield, especially in the first half and it’s not a secret that they missed some piece of art from their maestro midfielder, Chimwemwe Idana.

However, in the post-match interviews, Kalisto Pasuwa backed the players who wore Idana’s shoes on the day.

“We managed to create chances in the game without him. Yes, we missed him, buts it’s just unfortunate that we didn’t find the winner. The halftime changes were just a matter of tactical,” said Pasuwa.

On the overall performance of his charges, Pasuwa said they played well, especially in the second half but it happens in the game of football.

“We were second on the ball in the first half without attacking with intent. We came stronger in the second half and unfortunately, we couldn’t find the winner. I said before that games are going to be hard on us in the second round. We were the most offensive side in the second half, but we couldn’t score. We need to go back and rectify where possible,” expanded Pasuwa.

His counterpart, Blessings Kawaza, one of the technical panel members said the draw was enough for them.

“We are satisfied with our play, it was a good game. Perhaps referee’s decision affected our boys psychologically but its part of the game,” said Kawaza.

This means that Bullets are yet to taste a defeat this campaign but a draw could give Blue Eagles the chance to reduce the gap to 9 points should they beat Karonga United on Sunday at Karonga United.

Bullets are still topping the table with 42 points from 16 games while Kamuzu Barracks have moved to 4th position with 27 points from 16 games.

Elsewhere, Silver Strikers Football Club are still walking on a thorny and bushy track as they have suffered their first defeat at home this season.

The Central Bankers were beaten 3 goals to one by Salima based Soldiers, Mafco FC at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe.

Auspicious Kadzongolo, Mphatso Katsonga and Mphatso Philimon were on target for the Salima based Battalions while Patrick Macheso scored a consolation goal for the hosts.

In Mzuzu, Moyale beat Tigers by three goals to one. Gasten Simkonda, Raphael Phiri and Maneno Nyoni scored for the Lions of Kaning’ina while Alfred Sapanga was on target for the Kau-Kau Boys.

Actions in tnm Super League continue on Sunday as teams are searching for points.

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