The old rivalry of Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers will be renewed on Saturday in the TNM Super League. Nyasa Times Senior Sports Reporter Jeromy Kadewere highlights six individuals who could play a major role in determining the victor of Malawi’s
showpiece soccer derby.
All eyes this coming Saturday will be on one of the most celebrated derbies in world football, the build-up has begun for the highly anticipated Blantyre Derby at Kamuzu Stadium.
The Malawian football showpiece pits two of Malawi’s greatest rivals against each other in a top of the table clash, which could go a long way in determining who is set the claim the title of TNM Super League champions.
Wanderers enter the clash with the pressure set firmly on their shoulders after a disappointing start in the second round of the League and they trail Big Bullets by three vital points.
However, recent form means little during the high-intensity derby, in which every player will look to play to their potential and beyond.
The six standout players who may influence the result on Saturday afternoon were chosen by Nyasa Times according to their big match temperament, current form and class.
Luka Milanzi -Wanderers
Luka Milanzi returned from a last season long injury layoff and gave the Nomads the lead with a low drive in the Standard Bank Cup encounter against Red Lions last week. The striker played the whole 90 minutes and will hope to make an appearance on Saturday afternoon.
The former disbanded Escom United experience, class and ability to perform in important matches should outweigh his lack of game time and whether the marksman is given a starting place or is used as an impact player remains to be seen. However, Milanzi have to overcome a tight wall which is likely to be marshaled by the likes of Sankhani Mkandawire.
Dalitso Sailesi -Bullets
Everything “Dalitso Sailesi ” touches turns to gold this season and the midfielder has been one of the main ingredients in the Peoples Team rampant run which sees them at the pinnacle of Malawi football. The Flames star has all the assets required to succeed in the midfield.
With the ability to hold the ball, control the game, pick out attacking players with slick passes and provide his own attacking impetus with bursts of pace and powerful strikes, Sailesi will be Bullets go-to man during the Derby.
The midfielder will focus on feeding balls to his attack-minded teammates but will face a tough task in dominating the midfield as he has to battle against an equally best right back so far in the country Stanely Sanudi set to start.
Sailesi, despite not enjoying last call ups in the Flames camp , but does have immense local experience on his side and will be an integral player throughout the ninety minutes
Isaac Kaliati -Wanderers
The Flames midfielder found some impeccable form since last season when he was with Azam Tigers. His fitness and sharpness on the pitch is just perfect . His sumptuous strikes in some matches renewed confidence and vigour.
With strength and a dangerous left foot in his armoury, Kaliati will hope to crack the nod for a starting place during the derby but may be used as an impact player for the Nomads.
His dribbles, juggling and skills on the ball places him firmly on the list of potential game-breakers and his experience coupled with a potential to create something out of nothing makes him a dangerous customer for Big Bullets to deal with, and the Peoples Team will have to maintain their defensive strength supplied by the likes of Pilirani Zonda, Yamikani Fodya.
Jaffali Chande -Bullets
One of Big Bullets top scorer seems to have overcome a mid-season slump in form with a series of goals in the first round. The former Epac FC striker has been prolific this season combining incisive movement, pace and some truly clinical finishing.
The pint-sized player has developed a telepathic understanding with strike partner injured Chiukepo Msowoya. The duo has tormented defences throughout this campaign, notching goals in the process.
However, the Nomads, will hope the ageing legs of Kondwani Lufeyo can deal with Chande’s bursts of speed and ability to run defences ragged
Stanely Sanudi- Wanderers
The Nomads adventurous full-back has been in a confident mood lately, no wonder Ernest Mtawali had no choice than to include him in the Flames squad. His name has been secured in the minds of many after the wonder right back do not give strikers any room to maneuver . Sanudi adds to the Nomads attacking threat down either flank as the versatile full-back possesses impressive pace and sublime technique.
His ability to shoot and provide crosses with both feet makes him a tricky customer, and his defensive efforts are helped by his bursts of speed which enables him to track back after making dangerous runs down the wing.
Targeting a place in the national set-up, Sanudi enters his third Blantyre Derby with a point to prove. His confidence is bursting at the seams and he will want to weigh in with another prolific strike against the Peoples Team.
Chimwemwe Kunkwawa -Bullets
Kunkwawa was called on an emergency after Bullets saw their two reliable goalkeepers Owen Chaima and Vincent Gona sustaining injuries. He will be the Chief’s showman and rock in defence, using his expert shot stopping abilities after a convincing performance during their match against Moyale Barracks.
Kunkwawa has been Bullets third choice custodian and this is his chance to prove Mabvuto Lungu and Llyod Nkhwazi wrong. But with his acrobatic and brave goalkeeping will be an essential element on Saturday afternoon. Kunkwawa will have to face pressure from the likes of Luka Milanzi, Muhammad Sulumba and Victor Nyirenda and the shot-stopper’s experience in two matches against Red Lions and Moyale Barracks will stand him in good stead for the challenges ahead.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :