By Antony Isaiah Jr
This weekend, the biggest and the most beautiful Stadium in Malawi that was built under the regime of late His Excellency, Professor Bingu Wa Mutharika, Bingu National Stadium calls for attention as it hosts the biggest fixture in Malawi.
Nyasa Big Bullets Football Club and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers who are all Blantyre based teams will scotch each other as they battle for the final spot of the 2022 FDH Bank Cup.
Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve have already solidified their place for the Finals of the prestigious Cup after beating Mchinji based team, Extreme FC in a all-regional-teams semifinals played at Kamuzu Stadium last weekend.
Chikumbutso Salima who now has three goals, on level with the likes of Babatunde Adepoju, Zeliati Nkhoma, Lloyd Njaliwa, Beston Jimu among others.
This is the third Blantyre Derby this year, after two meetings in the League games and Bullets collected four points over their neighbours as they won in the first round by 2-1 before a 3-all stalemate in the second round.
It’s a match of two teams that are geographically close but successfully apart in the last 5 years. Maule have managed to grab over 8 trophies since 2018 while Manoma last addition of Silverware to their stores was back in 2018 when they won the Fisd Challenge Cup.
Mighty Mukuru Wanderers started their journey with a hard-fought victory over Kamuzu Barracks Reserve in the round of 32 before hammering Dedza Dynamos by 3 goals to nill in the quarterfinals in the round of 16.
They also registered a emphatic 4-1 victory over Kamuzu Barracks in the quarterfinals at Kamuzu Stadium to book their slot in the semifinal stage and propose a third Blantyre Derby.
On the other hand, Nyasa Big Bullets kickstarted their campaign in the 2022 FDH Bank Cup with a 3-1 win over Sable Farming at Mulanje Park before banking on Richard Chimbamba to rescue them from angry Lions of Kaning’ina in the round of 16.
Kalisto Pasuwa’s boys squandered two-nill leads twice as they played a 4-all draw against Moyale Barracks at Kamuzu Stadium and Richard Chimbamba came off the bench to save two penalties and send his team into the quarterfinals.
A goal each from Babatunde Adepoju and Anthony Mfune were enough for the Ndirande based boys to book a slot in the semifinal stage.
CURRENT FORMS FOR THE TWO TEAMS
There is the difference in terms of morale in the two camps as Mighty Wanderers are in jovial mood while Nyasa Big Bullets’ mood has been sickned by the setback that they had in the Caf Champions League after succumbing to a 4-0 defeat on aggregate to Simba SC.
Mighty Wanderers performance have been very tremendous in the past 5 games since the appointment of the former Chitipa United Coach, Alex Ngwira.
Under the mentorship of Ngwira, Nomads are yet to taste a defeat, winning three and drawing two: 3-0 against Dedza in FDH, 4-1 against Kamuzu Barracks in FDH, 1-0 against Silver Strikers, 3-1 stalemate against Nyasa Big Bullets and 2-2 stalemate against Dedza in TNM Super League.
In the league, they sit 5th with 37 points from 20 games.
Crossing the floor, the Red Armies are yet to be beaten in the domestic games, extending their unbeaten run to 365 days since their last defeat to Mighty Wanderers on September 21, 2021.
This season, they are running away with the League Championship to grab it for the fourth time consecutively as they are comfortably leading the table with 52 points from 20 games while Kamuzu Baracks who sit second with 43 points from 22 games.
While their impressive run hogs the headlines, there are plenty more for Pasuwa to be worried about after seeing his side recorded heavy defeat.
When it comes to defensive debacles, however, no top-flight team in Malawi is a patch on Bullets, who have now lost 4-0, 3-3 stalemate against Wanderers, and 4-4 against Moyale Barracks, conceding a 12 goals overall as of late.
HEAD TO HEAD
Mighty Wanderers have had tough times to remember when they meet their cross-town rivals in both league s and Cup games.
Going into this game, Mighty Mukuru Wanderers will be eager to break two records: beating Bullets in a cup after 7 years and beating Bullets for the first time in a competitive match at Bingu National Stadium.
The two teams have met at Bingu National Stadium 9 times, but only five of those are in the competitive and Fifa recognised games.
Mighty Wanderers have won over Bullets at Bingu National Stadium three times: 2-1 in the Bus Ipite on January 2, 2017, 1-0 in the Big 4 Bonanza on March 25, 2017 and 2-0 on February 3, 2018 in a Friendly game.
On August 6, 2017 Emmanuel Zoya rendered pain to Mighty Wanderers when he netted the only goal in a game that Bullets beat Manoma in the 2017 tnm Super League.
On September 9, 2017 Nyasa Big Bullets won the Carlsberg Cup after beating Wanderers on penalties after a 2-all draw in the regulation time. Jaffali Chande and Isaac Kaliati scored for Wanderers while Nelson Kangunje and Muhammad Sulumba were on scoresheet for the People’s team. Yamikani Chester saw his penalty hitting the right post
On October 28, 2017 Wanderers opted for Bingu National Stadium for the second round game in the tnm Super League and it ended 1-all. Joseph Kamwendo scored for Wanderers before Chiukepo Msowoya cancelled it.
On 28, April, 2018 Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets played a goalless draw Bingu National Stadium.
On June 16, Nyasa Big Bullets booted Mighty Wanderers out of the Airtel Top 8 Cup after beating them 2-1. Bright Munthali and Chiukepo Msowoya scored for Bullets while Zicco Mkanda had a consolation goal for the Nomads. The game was played at Bingu National Stadium.
Since their victory in the Carlsberg Cup on August 29, 2015, Mighty Wanderers are yet to win a cup game against Bullets.
They have met three times since 2015, and Nyasa Big Bullets won all the three games, most recently, the 4-1 that Babatunde Adepoju single-handedly did in the semifinals of the Airtel Top 8 Cup.
EARLY TEAM NEWS
Mighty Wanderers trip to the Capital has been boosted by the coming in of Adeleke Kalowole who has been without kicking the ball due to injury and he was spotted on Wednesday at the training base.
The Club has also announced the signing of the Malawi International, Robben Ngalande on the free transfer after his contract with Ethiopian giants, Saint Georgia got expired.
On the part of the Red army, Five of their players were reportedly fell sick in Tanzania as they went to fulfill the 2022-23 TotalEnergies Caf Champions League fixture against Simba SC.
However, the severity of their illness is yet to be known but they have been spotted in their training base.