By Antony Isaiah Jr
The Head Coach for Moyale Barracks, Prichard Mwansa has foreseen Mzuzu Derby to be tough as Moyale Barracks face Ekwendeni Hammers on Sunday Afternoon.
The Lions of Kaning’ina are coming from a 2-1 victory over their brothers in arms, Mafco FC and Mwansa said his team will do everything to amass maximum points for them to push up on the table.
Ekwendeni Hammers have played 12 games without a win, losing seven and drawing five.
However, they have new coach in the team, Gilbert Chirwa former Nyasa Big Bullets Coach started his era at the Club with a gridlock against Silver Strikers and the enthusiasm looks high in their camp as they are trying to rescue themselves from the chop.
Hammers last win was on 17 April against the rookies, Rumphi United at Mzuzu Stadium.
Despite Hammers’ poor results, Mwansa said their cross-town rivals are capable of hurting them.
“Ekwendeni are a good side through they have been having bad results. We saw them playing a good game against Silver Strikers last week. We live together, we are ones and they are good side. However, we are looking for results though it will be tough because we do everything together and we train on the same ground,” said Mwansa.
The two teams shared a point each in the first round and put of four games that the two teams have played, three games ended in stalemate with Moyale having a record of 1 win.
The Lion’s of Kaning’ina who are 8th on the table with 23 points from 18 games are going into the Mzuzu Derby without three key players.
Lloyd Njaliwa is in National Team Camp, Gasten Simkonda has suffered a tibia injury while Raphael Phiri is serving a suspension after accumulating two yellow cards.
While admitting that he will miss the services of his three hit men, the team signed over 25 players and they are equally good and they are capable of replacing them.
“We will miss them but we are having some players who can replace them. We signed many players and we know that they equally good and they can give us what we get from Njaliwa, Phiri and Simkonda. It’s their time to show that they as good as the three who are missing today,” added Mwansa.
Elsewhere, straight from collecting four points up North, Silver Strikers are welcoming Red Lions at Bingu National Stadium.
Silver Strikers who occupy 5th place with 31 points from 19 games lost to Red Lions who are currently sitting 11th with 21 points by a goal to nill courtesy of Royal Bokosi’s strike.
In Blantyre, Nyasa Big Bullets will look to register their first win at home as they facing TN Stars at Kamuzu Stadium.
Bullets have played three games in all competitions at Kamuzu Stadium for the first time for a time and Coach Kalisto Pasuwa said he has done his homework with the boys to start producing results at home.
They were held by Kamuzu Barracks, Moyale Barracks and Mighty Wanderers.
While saying that the preparations has been affected by lack of some of his players who are in National Team Camp and injuries, Pasuwa said as for this game, the boys are responding well. He also said he us working on the problem of having a porous defence as the team conceded 8 goals at Kamuzu Stadium in 3 games which happens very rarely.
“Preparations have been going on very well but remember we are having some of our players with the national team. As you know, last time we played at home, we conceded a lot and we wanted to rectify this problem with every player on board, but then we have just been working with the boys who are around and we have tried to work on it,” said Pasuwa.
Of 8 goals that the People’s team have conceded at Kamuzu Stadium in three games, at least 75 per cent are set pieces and Pasuwa says he is trying to teach his boys on this aspects but has called for patience from the supporters as he is still building a team.
“We have tried to work on it. It’s true, we haven’t done well on set pieces and we needed to train more on this. We also needed to work on the mental aspect of it as you know whenever we are leading, we fail to maintain the lead and when teams come hard on us, we put our heads down, something which has everything to do with our mental strength. We have tried to work it out and we are hopeful that you will see some changes on Sunday when we play TN Stars.
Nyasa Big Bullets remain the only team to taste a defeat in the 2022 season in all competitions and they are leading the table with 49 points while Blue Eagles are coming second with 39 points and Pasuwa said he has told his boys to be strong because teams will come hard this second round.
“I have been talking to the boys that teams will come hard on us in the second round of the season. We have a team that is completely new, but again if you can see the other side of it gives you hope because when we play away from home, we are picking up points, but when it’s at Kamuzu Stadium we drop points. This is something that is in our minds that [when] we are playing at home [we will collect maximum points] which is not good at all because in football you can also lose at home. We have been addressing this problem and also talking much about the principles of playing, especially on defense and to see the basics of how we can fair. If you can see the goals that we have been conceding they look simple, but again it’s a problem which needs to be addressed before we play Simba SC in the Champions League.”
“It’s us who are on a minus side. We haven’t been winning at home and we are carrying a load of things, which is why we need points at home at all cost. We also need to try to defend well especially on dead ball situations and the transition from the back to the offensive zone to avoid them from attacking us.”
“Though TN are looking bad for them in terms of log position, [TN Stars] are a very good side that can give you problems. When we played them in Kasungu, they gave us problems in terms of pressing. They were very quick in attack and considering that they will play on a good surface against us, they will come hard on us by playing football which you normally see whenever they are playing elsewhere.”
TN Stars lost to Mighty Tigers and they will be looking to bounce back to collect something from South.
At Kasungu Stadium, Blue Eagles face Civil Service United.