By Jeromy Kadewere, Nyasa Times
Relegation threatened ESCOM United Coach Alex Masanjala has said their fight to escape demotion from the elite 15-team TNM Super League is not yet over and will approach their five remaining games with great caution.
The struggling electricians travel to Lilongwe this weekend to face defending champions and hottest title contenders, Silver Strikers, at their backyard, Silver Stadium in the “relegation dogfight”.
The bankers are currently at the summit of the table with 48 points from 23 games and, on paper, they have what appears to be an easy fixture against a second from bottom team that has accumulated only 19 points from 23 games.
But Masanjala insists despite being stuck in the relegation zone they will not be under any pressure as they face their biggest test of character over the weekend.
The veteran tactician vowed that his charges, who will be without their inspirational striker Chiukepo Msowoya who has gone for trials in Mozambique, will approach the game with great caution.
“We are stuck in the danger zone but our eyes are now firmly set to fight for relegation,” said Masanjala who took over the already sinking boat a few weeks ago with an attempt to rescue it.
Last weekend, the electricians received baptism of fire at the Kamuzu Stadium from Big Bullets FC who walloped them by five goals to one.
On the other hand, the bankers head coach Franco Ndawa has said they are not underrating ESCOM and will go full throttle on Saturday.
Said Ndawa: “There is a lot of expectation and we have advised the boys to exercise caution because this will be the most important match in our ambition to defend the title.”
However, the former Mighty Wanderers and Red Lions trainer urged the officiating team to apply professionalism in their handling of the game.
“We are just hoping that the officiating personnel will take a firm line and handle this game professionally,” he said.
While observing that the chase for the title has reached a nerve shredding stage, the other two title favourites Blantyre United and Big Bullets stressed that they cannot afford to slip as that would prove fatal to them.
Just like the bankers, Bullets aka the Peoples Team and United fondly known by their fans as Mphembedzu, the reality of clinching the championship seems so near yet so far.
Silver dislodged Blantyre United from the summit last weekend after collecting four points from their northern region outing.
Third-placed Bullets, who are also eyeing the big prize after several years in the wilderness, will host Moyale Barracks on Sunday at Kamuzu Stadium.
The Mzuzu solders have gone eight games without a loss while Bullets are yet to taste a defeat at Kamuzu Stadium since it was re-opened.
Bullets coach Edington Ng’onamo said they were eying nothing less than three points as they face the soldiers of Kaning’ina.
“We are fully geared to collect three points because any victory against Moyale will put us on a better side to win the title,” he said.
He, however, conceded that the going will be tough since there are three teams remaining as hot contenders.
Another fierce battle over the weekend will involve Mighty Wanderers who are hoping to breathe a new life in their faltering campaign when they clash Azam Tigers on Saturday.
The Nomads, who are on fifth position on the table with 39 points from 24 games, are aware that any slip up will give chance to Moyale to overtake them if they succeed to collect maximum points against Red Lions on Saturday and Bullets the following day.
Wanderers’ highly respected coach Felix Fosco promised the Nomads family that they will fight tooth and nail in order to amass three points.
“We are aware that it will be a difficult game, but l can promise our fans that we will do all we can to win against Tigers, “he said.
But Tigers mentor Leo Mpulula had few words on the game on describing it as “one of the important matches to us.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :