By Antony Isaiah Jr
The wait for Nyasa Big Bullets to sweat for their slot in the Second round of the TotalEnergies Caf Champions League is over as they kick off their journey with a home game against Tanzania giants, Simba Sporting Club on Saturday afternoon at Bingu National Stadium.
The Continental competition is very crucial for Nyasa Big Bullets Football Club mentor, Kalisto Pasuwa to prove his worthy as he has managed to win the domestic league four times and cups since he joined the club in 2018.
Kalisto Pasuwa has participated with the team in the Caf Champions League three times but he has been failing to replicate his brilliance from the domestic football.
Nyasa Big Bullets have been knocked out of the tournament three times consecutively, prompting critics from the rival fans saying they are only good at domestic football.
They were beaten by Kenyan giants Gor Mahia on penalties after a 1-all draw on aggregate in 2018 before suffering another set back to Platnum FC of Zimbabwe the following year.
Last year, Bullets managed to beat Amazulu away from home with 10 men after Yamikan Fodya was sent off just before half-time but they were beaten 3-1 at Bingu National Stadium in a return leg.
The people’s team are in fine form in the domestic league, playing 20 games without a defeat and they are leading the 16-member tnm Super League with 52 points and they are the semifinals of the FDH Bank Cup.
Meanwhile, Simba Sporting Club were booted out of the tournament in the second round of the qualifiers but they were relegated to the Caf Confederation Cup where they reached the quarterfinals before being whipped by Orlando Pirates on penalties.
Simba SC are one of the strong teams in Africa having managed to beat the African giants like Al Ahly, AS Vita, Kaizer Cheifs just to mention a few and they have of late managed to attract quality players from across the globe.
However, the Tanzanian giants have not been on top of their form as f late, lagging to win anything last season, a development that led to the sacking of their Head Coach, Pablo Franco before another coach, Zoran Maki just few days before this fixture.
The winner between the two will face the winner between the Zambian Super League Champions, Red Arrows and Primeiro do Agosto.
Pasuwa expects Bullets to create name for themselves
Nyasa Big Bullets Zimbabwean coach Kalisto Pasuwa says facing one of the biggest teams in Africa bestows the chance for his boys to make names for themselves and the name for the Club.
Pasuwa says doing well in the Caf Champions League will help his team to establish themselves as one of the power houses in the Southern Africa and he is confident that his boys will deliver.
“As Bullets we know Simba how they are, but again we should have to create name for ourselves in order for us to be one of the biggest teams in the Southern Africa. Simba are a good side and we respect them, but when playing football, you don’t have to look at that but doing the job as it is.
“We feel good to be part of this Champions league. Football in this competition is different from our domestic competitions. These youngsters need to see how Football is all about and when even they go play for national team, it will be a thing that they already know and we happy that these young boys are participating in these international matches,” said Kalisto Pasuwa.
Unlike last season, Nyasa Big Bullets kick start the campaign with a home game which will their fans filling the 42000-capacity stadium while cheering them up. Last season they started win an away match.
However, Pasuwa says in this competition, home ground gives no advantage.
“In football sometimes this home advantage things I don’t think whether it can matter most. It’s about how you approach your game. If you say you are playing at home and then you want to do the other way. It’s how one team approach the game.
“Simba are coming here and we will go in Tanzania for a return leg.
“Yah, having fans with us it’s a boost. We have been playing without most of these supporters and it’s good that they are coming to see these youngsters playing in non-familiar territory that they are in. We need them,” added Pasuwa.
Only Yankho Singo misses the game due to injury.
We need to play with shape-Pasuwa
The Zimbabwean mentor has cautioned his charges to play with shape as Simba are a good side so that they are not facing problems in metamorphosis.
He said his boys need to avoid the past mistakes that costed them in the previous games.
“This year we have been been making so many mistakes in the last minute of the game, silly mistakes that would cost in the game. If you look in the first year that we were in, it was a problem of also defence and we even to say that in Champions League, there are small mistakes that cost you.
“This year we have a lot of youngsters, we are rebuilding the team and again we are going out there with the mentality of winning but remember that these are youngsters who also need experience to he in them bit a quarter of the boys are experienced enough and we hope that we have prepared them well in order for us to advance to the next step.
“In Champions league are the games that you can even throw four to be in front of the ball and six behind the ball incase of transition from attack to defence. You need to play with shape and we know that we will go in the second leg and we have put is place the tactical aspect where also we need be winning at home.
“In training with these boys, most of them, they came from the Reserve side and they are technically playing very good but it’s just the tactically awareness that need to be instilled in them. In these competitions we need to be more tactical when playing.
“As the coach of the team, I have got much confidence in them and am the only one who can be pumping them to say let’s go and win this match,’ said Pasuwa.
Peter Banda returns Home
The pacey and talented midfielder, Peter Banda has returned home but this time he is facing his former team, Nyasa Big Bullets after completing a move a year ago.
Banda who won the Super League player of the season in his only and maiden season had a spell in Moldova where he played for Sherrif Transpol on load but Simba SC rushed into securing his signature.
Kalisto Pasuwa said facing Peter Banda have both negative and positive effect in this game as they know him and he also knows Bullets.
“Peter Banda being one of these boys, remember he grew up with most of the players that we have now, he even played with some. Remember that we know him and he also knows us. It will be an advantage to them but it also its an advantage to us because we are people who know him better,” added Pasuwa.