By Antony Isaiah Jr:….
Nyasa Big Bullets Football Club Head Coach said a defeat to Malawi Armed Force College (MAFCO) has given his boys a lesson that they cannot play all the games without being beaten.
𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐇𝐀𝐏𝐏𝐄𝐍𝐄𝐃? Fresh from winning their second trophy of the season, FDH Bank Cup after beating their reserve side, Nyasa Big Bullets returned into Super League action with a disappointing outing against Mafco FC at Dedza Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The Salima based Soldiers have become the first team to beat the people’s team since September 2021 in domestic football after a 1-0 defeat against their cross-town rivals, Mighty Mukuru Wanderers Football Club.
A goal scored by Zikani Sichinga in the 40th minutes was enough for the Great Kali’s boys to taste a defeat at Dedza despite all the attempts that they tried to get something from the fixture.
Nyasa Big Bullets were second on the ball and Mafco were a better team from the onset. Chimwemwe Idana who has been the team’s engine could not move as Mafco had a good homework before the game and they studied all the channels that the people’s team use fo find goals.
Mafco nearly lead after 8 minutes as Dan Chimbalanga wobbled a free-kick that was cleared away by Blessings Mpokera who started on behalf of Frank Willard as a Defensive midfielder before goalkeeper, Richard Chimbamba again repudiated the hosts from hitting the back of the net as he palmed away Dan Chimbalanga’s cross from the left flank.
Bullets had a response in the 19th minute after they infested Soldiers camp through Babatunde but Anthony Mfune’s hammer shot hit the post.
David Daud tested Richard Chimbamba with a long range effort but the goalkeeper was alert to deny him but he couldn’t do it for a long time as Zikani Sichinga had a way to beat him a moment later.
The visitors tried a back pass to their goalkeeper but it couldn’t reach him as Mphatso Philimon precluded the ball and launched an attack before slotting the ball to Sichinga who was in the box and the striker just bobbed it home. Bullets defenders failed to deal with the cross from Philimon, they got paralysed.
To cope up with the intensity of Mafco’s game, Kalisto Pasuwa pulled out Misheck Seleman for the pacey attacker, Stanley Billiati in the 52nd minute before Stereo Gondwe replaced the archetec of the goal, Philimon with the former Baroka forward, Richard Mbulu.
The goalscorer, Zikani Sichinga was pulled out for Tony Mbulu while Chimwemwe Idana could not play 90 minutes as he was replaced by Alick Lungu.
Kesten Simbi ambitiously hoisted the ball from a free-kick targeting the top corner but Blessings Kameza made a splendid save to deny the Centre Half from hitting the roof of the net before Babatunde Adepoju skied his ball with only goalkeeper to beat, to the frustration of the head coach and the fans that filled Dedza Stadium to witness their team playing at Dedza fir first time after 4 years.
The coming of Hassan Kajoke for Anthony Mfune could not avoid the Blantyre giants from tasting the defeat as Mafco were able to close all the holes that they [Bulllets] use to penetrate to find goals.
𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐖𝐀𝐒 𝐒𝐀𝐈𝐃? In reaction to the defeat, Kalisto Pasuwa said it was a good lesson to his charges that they cannot play all the games without being beaten.
He added that he cannot put pressure on to his players and this will test the mentality of his charges on how they return to winning games from a defeat.
“It’s a lesson learnt. We can’t be winning games every time we play. We need to go back to the drawing board and tell the players that they can be defeated and how we rise from this setback to come back and win again. We go [back] and do our homework.
“I will take the next fixtures as they come. There is no need to panic and as I said, we need to also taste the mentality aspect of [the players] from a defeat, how do they return to winning ways? And this [loss] will see us going back to the drawing board and bounce back in the upcoming fixtures.”
The Zimbabwean went to explain the reason for pulling out his maestro, Chimwemwe Idana saying he was not on his level best on the day.
“From transition most of the time [he was] very slow and the one ball that we conceded was on a bad back pass from him, negative part of it, then straight away they scored us. But that’s part of the game and the substitutes [that] came in tried their best, but it wasn’t meant to be our day, we move on to the next one.”
𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐃𝐎𝐄𝐒 𝐈𝐓 𝐌𝐄𝐀𝐍? This is a first defeat for the people’s team after playing 36 games in all competetions domestically. The defeat reduces their maximum points to 73 should they win their last 4 games.
This is Mafco’s first victory over the people’s team since 2016 when they recorded a 1-0 victory in the Carlsberg Cup courtesy of Said Mtekama’s 80th minute strike and it is their first win in a league game since their 2-0 win in 2013 when Richard Mbulu and Said Mtekama were on target in that game.
They remain on top with 5 points after collecting 61 points from 26 games and Blue Eagles who beat Mighty Mukuru Wanderers on Saturday are on number 2 with 56 points from 27 games.
This means that they will still need 4 points from their remaining 4 games for them to be officially crowned as the Champions of the tnm Super League for the fourth time in a row.
As for Mafco, the victory takes them to sixth place with 46 points from 28 games.
Karonga United, Moyale Barracks, Mighty Tigers and Dedza Dynamos remain on the menu list for Bullets before winding up their league and all the games will be played at home except Tiger’s game.
As for Mafco, they have remained with Blue Eagles and Karonga United.
𝐖𝐇𝐀𝐓 𝐍𝐄𝐗𝐓? Both teams will now shift their focus to Airtel Top 8 Cup as Nyasa Big Bullets welcome Karonga United at Kamuzu Stadium while Mafco will visit Mighty Mukuru Wanderers at the same venue.
Bullets are the defending Champions of the Cup after beating Silver Strikers last year to win it.
Elsewhere, Kamuzu Barracks finally have tasted a defeat after 13 games as Silver Strikers beat them at Kasungu Stadium.
Chawanangwa Kaonga and Stain Davie scored for the Bankers while Zeliati Nkhoma was on target for the Venoms.
Silver Strikers are on number 5 with 48 points from 29 games while Kamuzu Baracks are on number 3 with 51 points from 27 games.
In Mzuzu, Gasten Simkonda’s lone strike was enough to sink TN Stars’ boat and lift Moyale Barracks to 7th with 43 points from 27 games while TN remain slumped to the bottom of the table with 16 points from 26 games.
In Karonga, Red Lions have failed to collect maximum points from the North as Karonga United come from behind to best them 3-2.
Brown Gondwe scored a brace for Red Lions while Mphatso Nkhoma, Gabinho Daudi and Sheriff Shamama scored for Karonga.
Karonga have gone up to 11th with 31 points from 27 games while Red Lions sit 13th with 28 points.