By Antony Isaiah Jr:………
Only a single win is needed for a team to reach the finals and have their coffers being accredited with AirtelMoney transactions- two of the four teams are at all costs supposed to go through the next phase of the Airtel Top-8 Cup season five as they battle out for two slots.
It’s is dubbed Blantyre vs Lilongwe as two teams from Blantyre are welcoming two heavyweights from Lilongwe at Kamuzu Stadium expecting trying to book a spot that will take them to Bingu National Stadium next week.
Silver Strikers who beat Kamuzu Barracks 3-1 on aggregate are on Saturday facing off the defending Champions, Nyasa Big Bullets while Blue Eagles are in Nomad’s zone on Sunday.
𝐍𝐲𝐚𝐬𝐚 𝐁𝐢𝐠 𝐁𝐮𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐭𝐬 𝐯𝐬 𝐒𝐢𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐫 𝐒𝐭𝐫𝐢𝐤𝐞𝐫𝐬
This one of the most biggest fixtures on the land as both teams have reached the finals of the competition more than any team with Silver Strikers reaching the finals three time while the people’s team have reached the finals two times.
The Bankers were the first team to win the tournament in its inaugural season after beating Mighty Mukuru Wanderers on penalties in 2017 before winning it in 2019 after defeating Karonga United at Bingu National Stadium. They were also in the finals last season but they couldn’t defend it as they surrendered it to Nyasa Big Bullets after losing the game on penalties.
The Area 47-based side are eager to wind up the season in style after missing the league and even the top 4 and also the FDH Bank Cup, winning the Airtel Top-8 could not only set up the tenpo before the next season starts, but also serving Leo Mpulura’s work at the Club.
Mpulura and Etson-Kadenge Mwafulirwa were roped in replacing Macdonald Yobe and finisng in top 4 and winning the Airtel Top-8 Cup were the target that were placed before them but one target has flew away and only the trophy remains in line to serve the job.
Not only beating resilient Kamuzu Barracks 3-1 was enough to send a statement on their intention on the trophy but also the fighting spirit and zeal of the players showed in the game.
A 1-all stalemate at Chitowe Stadium left them witha huge mountain to climb in the second leg as a goalless draw would saw the Chioko-based Soldiers going through the next phase.
Going into the game, Silver Strikers have played 6 games without a defeat since their 1-0 defeat to Mighty Tigers on October 15.
However, facing the organized side who have lost only once in 36 games this season at domestic level could demand then sweating more as their opponents are very tough to beat at the Soccermeca.
Nyasa Big Bullets are unbeaten at home this season as their last defeat at Kamuzu Stadium is dated back to September last season as Mighty Mukuru Wanderers escape with a 1-0 win in the tnm Super League- a first win over their neighbours since 2012.
Silver have suffered five defeats in their last five games at Kamuzu Stadium against Nyasa Big Bullets- losing 3-1 in league , 1-0 in Charity Shield, 5-4 on penalties in Airtel, 2-1 in league , 3-1 in league .
Until they won the Airtel Top-8 Cup last season, Nyasa Big Bullets have been struggling to get a positive result in a Cup game against Silver Strikers. They have only won twice in their last five cup game meetings.
Silver beat the people’s team 1-0 in the Fisd Challenge Cup in 2016 before another 1-0 win on aggregate in the quarterfinals of the Airtel Top-8 Cup in 2017. They also met each other in the same competition in 2018 and the Capital City based team won 2-0 and they also emerged the winners in 2019 in the same comedy after booting Bulllets 5-4 on penalties before repeating the same in the FDH Bank Cup last season.
𝐌𝐢𝐠𝐡𝐭𝐲 𝐌𝐮𝐤𝐮𝐫𝐮 𝐖𝐚𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐫𝐬 𝐯𝐬 𝐁𝐥𝐮𝐞 𝐄𝐚𝐠𝐥𝐞𝐬
Another grudge game with both teams eager to get a silverware this season as both of them last won the trophy back in 2018 when Eagles beat Nyasa Big Bullets 1-0 to win the Airtel Top-8 Cup while Mighty Mukuru Wanderers got the better of Silver Strikers to win the Fisd Challenge Cup.
Blue Eagles are eager to win the trophy as the reward for their new Inspector General while Mighty Mukuru Wanderers FC are tired of having trophiless seasons.
The two teams rarely meet in Cup games- they haven’t met each other in a Cup game since 2017.
While the fact remains that when Blue Eagles become a very tough nut to unscrew when they meet Big teams, the Cops only beat the Lali Luban based team twice in six games.
In 2008, Mighty Mukuru Wanderers succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to Blue Eagles in Standard Bank Cup before stumbling to another 3-2 defeat in Carlberg Cup.
Wanderers were 1-0 winners in 2010 over Blue Eagles in Standard Bank Cup before another 1-0 win five years later in the same competition which was followed by another 1-0 win in the Fisd Challenge Cup in 2016.
The last meeting between the two sides in a Cup game was in 2017 and it was in Carsberg Cup and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers won the game 3-2 on penalties after a 1-all stalemate in regulation time.
Since their 3-0 victory in 2018, Mighty Mukuru Wanderers are winless over Blue Eagles in their 7 meetings in all competitions.