Salima based military side Mafco FC put aside all the worries about the punishment meted out on the club by Football Association of Malawi (Fam) to beat Nyasa Big Bullets 1-0 during a rescheduled Carlberg Cup quarterfinal encounter played at a neutral Civo Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday, August 20, 2016.
Initially slated for last Saturday at Mafco’s home base of Chitowe Stadium in Dwangwa, the game was rescheduled to Civo Stadium in Lilongwe following the alleged attack on Bullets players by their Mafco counterparts, which eventually led to the suspension of three Mafco players- Paul Ndlovu, Stain Malata and free-scoring striker Richard Mbulu and a K1 million fine on the military outfit.
Despite missing the services of the three key players, the Military Instructors dominated the visitors in both halves before Saidi Ntekama’s 80th minute headed strike, which turned out to be the match winner.
The goal originated from a throw-in, which former Be Forward Wanderers winger Benard Harawa, flicked into the path of Ntekama, who planted the ball home with a Bullet header that beat Bullets’ in-form custodian Ernes Kakhobwe on the far post.
After conceding the goal, Bullets made a desperate substitution, sacrificing defender Emmanuel Zoya for striker Niyikiza Ayimable but Mafco stood firm at the back.
Unlike their brothers in arms Moyale Barracks, who resorted to defending and wild kicking after taking a 1-0 second-half lead against Bullets during the Presidential Cup final at the same venue a month ago, Mafco never ceased attacking until Lilongwe based referee Patrick Leo Ngoleka blew his final whistle after four minutes of added time.
Bullets team manager Rahim Ishmael conceded defeat, blaming the opponents’ goal on communication breakdown between his central defenders.
“We now have to take a rest before the start of the Super League second round. Fatique was taking its toll on the boys after playing too many games within a short space of time but now we will have time to rest,” said Ishmael.
Mafco’s acting team manager Captain Noel Chakhame saluted his charges for putting up a spirited performance:.
“We played better than Bullets and could have wrapped up the game in the first half had we been composed in front of goal. Bullets’ goalkeeper was also in excellent form- otherwise we could have scored more than one goal,” said Chakhame.
Mafco will now meet Silver Strikers in the second semifinal match to be played at Civo stadium while Mighty Be Forward Wanderers will face Master Security Southern Region Football League side
According to Football Association of Malawi (Fam) Competitions Manager Gomezgani Zakazaka, the semifinal matches will be played on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th August 2016.
Zakazaka has however described this years Carlsberg Cup Competition as highly competative.
He has also assured soccer lovers that there will be alot more surprise since we still have one small team remaining in the competition which he believes can produce wonders by reaching the final or as well grab the cup.
The Mafco and Big Bullets match was supposed to be played last Saturday but was cancelled due to the fracas that happened at the eve of the match involving Mafco and Bullets players at the Chitowe