……Bullets to know their opponents
The Malawi’s representatives in the Caf InterClub Competitions, Nyasa Big Bullets are expected to know their opponents in the Preliminary Round of the Caf Champions League on Tuesday, August 9, 2022 per announcement from Caf.
The African Football governing body has confirmed the development through a statement on Sunday evening.
Part of the statement reads, “The draw for the 2022-23 TotalEnergies Caf Interclub competitions Preliminary round will be conducted on Tuesday, 09 August 2022.”
The draw will be held in the Confederation of African Football, Caf headquarters, Cairo in Egypt.
The registration of players to take part in the competitions started on August 1, 2022 and the first Preliminary round games are expected to be played on 09-11 September (Home) and 16-18 September (Away).
A total of 58 Football Clubs have confirmed their participation in this year’s Caf Champions League.
During the draw for the first Preliminary Round, 6 teams will be exempted. They are the Champions, Wydad Athletic Club, Raja Casablanca, Al Ahly, Es Tunis, Mamelodi Sundowns and TP Mazembe.
Nyasa Big Bullets through their Chief Administrative Officer, Albert Chigoga last months confirmed their availability in the continental football saying they have what it takes to represent the country in the tournament.
“We are substantiating that we will play in the tournament.
“We cannot disclose the amount of money that we have prepared as things are changing daily, we will do it when the tournament is about to start,” added Chigoga.
Super League of Malawi pledged to support Bullets in the tournament as they will represent Malawi.
Super League of Malawi President, Tiya Somba Banda said the people’s team will be wrapped in all aspects including financially.
Banda said, “They are playing in the international competition which helps in boosting our game in Malawi and also the national team. Last year they participated and this year we have received a confirmation from our mother FA, so we will assist and support them.”
Nyasa Big Bullets Coach, Kalisto Pasuwa said he has the Arsenals to play in the competition but was quick to divulge his worries on the defensive segment of the team.
“In Champions League you need to play with structure, that’s one thing that we mist not forget. It’s not that kind of football that you cab be running everywhere. We have been playing these games but by now, I think we haven’t settled. The problem that we have right now is injuries. I have an experienced guy, John Lanjesi who is often out of the squad due to injuries. He is one of those guys whom if you put in defence, he can lead the game very well,” said Pasuwa.
Bullets signed the Ghanaian Centre Half, Isaac Badu as one way of preparing the tournament, but Pasuwa has been rarely using him in the local football.
The Zimbabwean said Badu is slowly coming in and he will starting playing very soon.
“Badu is slowly coming in, but he still need to do more for him to make the breakthrough to the Starting Xi and convince me to play in the Champions League,” said Pasuwa.
However, the team said they have no plans to beef up their squad ahead of the tournament.
Albert Chigoga said they always take advice from the Technical team.
He said, “There are no plans to beef up the squad as we go into this phase. If need be, the coach will advice us. He is at ease with the squad and should there be need, reinforcement will be done.”
Football Association of Malawi Licensing and Compliance manager, Casper Jangale said they are happy with Bullets’ participation in the continental football.
“Bullets’ participation has alot of gains in terms of our Football growth and development, ” said Jangale.
Only one team in Malawi will play in the Caf inter-club competitions as Blue Eagles and Silver Strikers pulled out their interests of participating in the Caf Confederation Cup.
Blue Eagles Chairperson, Alexander told local media house that they have failed to take part in the continental showpiece due to plugged calendar year.
“We already playing in Super League and we have Cups ahead, but most importantly, we have an annual SAPICO games that will be played in Tanzania. Blue Eagles will partake in SAPICO, so we are overwhelmed and it will be difficult for us to source resources to cover all the competitions, so we will not be able to participate in Caf,” said Ngwala.
Meanwhile, Football analyst Kim Kamau says having only one team in Caf is a disconcerting development saying Caf games are integral for the development of Malawi’s football.
Kamau said, “It’s a disconcerting situations as these competitions help to augment our national team. If they (teams) are lacking funds, Fam should also take part in helping the clubs finding Sponsorships just for the tournaments.”
The 16-time Super League Champions have a record of participating in the Caf Champions League 7times with their best performance being 2004 where they reached the group stages when they were under former President, Dr. Bakili Muluzi sponsorship.
In 2015 they were about to reach the 2004 landmark after beating Fomboni FC of Comoros 2-1 in the preliminary round but they were booted out by South Sudanese giants, Al Hilal after suffering a 5-1 defeat on aggregate.
Last season, Bullets booted out of the competition by South African Amazulu FC in Preliminary Round after a 3-2 defeat on aggregate.
In 2019-20, Nyasa Big Bullets were booted out in the preliminary round after being defeated by Platinum FC of Zimbabwe.
In 2018-19, Gor Mahia of Kenya beat Bullets on penalties after a one-all stalemate. Chiukepo Msowoya missed the penalty that would have taken Bullets to the next round in the regulation time.
Football analyst, Ojuku Malunga says the Bullets should not get tired of taking part in the competition as it will help them in gaining more experience.
“They have assembled a good team, they are not going to compete but the competition will help them to gain experience. We would like to have two teams in the competition as it helps to improve the national team.”
Here is their performance in the league:
-2000 – Preliminary Round
-2004 – Group Stage
2015 – First Round
-2018–19 – Preliminary Round
2019–20 – Preliminary Round
-2021–22 – First Round
Raja Athletic Club of Morocco are the reigning Champions as they beat Al Ahly in the final match.