By Antony Isaiah Jr:……….
The fourth Blantyre Derby of the season between Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Mukuru Wanderers calls as the Nomads have sailed past “talkative” Blue Eagles to book their tickets for a trip to Lilongwe next weekend.
Mighty Mukuru Wanderers have reached their first ever Cup final since 2018 after beating Silver Strikers to win the Fisd Challenge Cup which happens to be their last silverware.
Nyasa Big Bullets were the first team to reach the finals of the tournament after smashing Silver Strikers 3-1 on Saturday afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium.
The Blantyre giants faced off in the opening game of the tnm Super League in a game that the people’s team won 2-1 before sharing spoils in a thrilling 3-all stalemate in the second round of the League.
Their last meeting at Bingu National Stadium saw the Airtel Top-8 Cup defending Champions ruthlessly slashing their neighbours 4-0 in the semifinals of the FDH Bank Cup.
𝐒𝐮𝐩𝐞𝐫𝐛 𝐍𝐨𝐦𝐚𝐝𝐬 𝐬𝐢𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐥𝐨𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐜𝐢𝐨𝐮𝐬 𝐂𝐨𝐩𝐬
Two goals from veteran Striker, Chiukepo Msowoya and substitue Yamikani Chester were enough to switch the talkative Blue Eagles into silent mode as the Nomads got their first win over the Cops since 2017.
Going into the game, Blue Eagles had promised to send the hosts packing, however, Mark Simon Harrison has brought the winning formula to the Nomads.
Eagles Coach, Kananji and his charges nursed a familiar sense of missed opportunity as that elusive major tournament triumph escaped them once more- after missing both Super League and FDH Bank Cup.
Watching the post-match scene at the Soccermeca brought flashbacks – to the FDH Bank Cup quarter-final defeat against Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve just months ago.Amid the pain of their latest defeat, Christopher Sibale [assistant coach] offered consolation to devastated Eagles players who inspired hope, only to see potential glory wrenched from their grasp.
Mark Simon Harrison who replaced Alex Ngwira as the Head Coach is now enjoying a good run of form as he is yet taste a defeat since he took over the helm- he has won all the five games that he has played, scoring 8 goals and conceding none.
Blue Eagles defence had to close gaps in the early stages of the game as Chiukepo Msowoya had a hammer shot blocked before the visitors responded with a counter-attacks that earned them nothing as Gabeya and his Co were more than alert to keep Gaddi Chirwa at bay.
The search for the opener was answered with sumptuous finish from Chiukepo Msowoya. The stands where the Nomads filled erupted with joy when Misheck Botomani outsmarted Eagles defender before spotting Msowoya in the penalty area and the striker did nothing wrong but had to nod home to make it 1-0 for the hosts.
Gaddie Chirwa and Rapson Richard were truly amazing and outstanding from flanks while Christopher Gototo was not as influential as in his previous game in Super League when he netted a treble against TN Stars.
A penalty appeal was issued to the referee after Blue Eagles players judged one of Mighty Mukuru Wanderers’ defenders to have touched the ball in the penalty srea but the referee paid no attention to their call and Schumacker Kuwali’s short on rebound was diverted for a corner.
Iyani Chinyama cut Felix Zulu’s delivery from the left flank that was intended to find Msowoya on the far end before Alfred Manyozo Jnr made a splendid stop to deny Eagles from breaking through the defence.
Iyani Chinyama’s free-kick from the left flank missed the cross bar with inches, Wanderers survived.
The visitors pilled pressure but the introduction of Yamikani Chester for Vincent Nyangulu in the 52nd boosted Nomad’s attacking prowess.
The number 10 lasted only 140 seconds in the pitch before stamping his name on the scoresheet. Wanderers won the ball higher up the field and Felix Zulu brilliantly slotted the ball to Chester who just stubbed home to take the game away from Eagles. Sankhani Mkandawire failed to deal with the ball and Chester just pressed the ball between Munthali’s legs.
𝐂𝐡𝐢𝐮𝐤𝐞𝐩𝐨, 𝐌𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐨𝐳𝐨 𝐩𝐫𝐨𝐯𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐭𝐡𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐇𝐚𝐫𝐫𝐢𝐬𝐨𝐧’𝐬 𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐫𝐭𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐗𝐢
“It was a tough game for us, for the first whistle to the last it was a battle but we played good football, we scored two goals and we deserved a win,” said Mark Harrison in post-match interviews.
After the final whistle, the head coach sent his arms into the air in celebration of of the win- and he is facing Nyasa Big Bullets in his first ever Blantyre Derby.
Since he came, Mark has been dwelling on the veterans Manyozo and Chiukepo Msowoya.
He opted for a back-three formation and the defence had a good cover as Alfred Manyozo who was deemed to be a surplus by the previous Coach was playing as a swipper.
Blue Eagles made a breakthrough, Schumacker Kuwali was on the left and Gaddie in the middle with only Miracle Gabeya ahead of them as an opponent. Manyozo managed to come into rescue as he made a sliding tackle and fans applauded his performance.
With his experience, Blue Eagles found it hard to penetrate through the midfield.
On other hand, Chiukepo Msowoya was a threat to Eagles’ defence. He could have scored more but thanks to Eagles’ solid defence that came into rescue for several times.
After Chester netted the second goal, Harrison and Manyozo were spotted hugging each other in celebration- they have another tough game next weekend in Lilongwe against a well-organized and free-scoring team.
Photo: Mighty Mukuru Wanderers Media Team.