It’s always very tough for rookies to survive the intense heat of the TNM Super League as evidenced through this season’s teams — Karonga United and Maxi Bullets, who are at the bottom of the log table together with former old guards, Dwangwa United.
But over the weekend, they have shown they can upset the tables and from their performance — against reputable opponents — they have the chance of extricating themselves from the bottom and survive if they plan their game well for the second round.
As the first round draws to a close, Karonga United and Maxi Bullets have already completed their assignments and are on relegation positions 14 and 16 respectively.
Karonga have 11 points, with seven for Maxi United while Dwangwa are on position 15 with 10 points and with one game left to complete the first round.
And they have a very tough last assignment against Nyasa Big Bullets on Sunday, August 14. However the consolation is that they will be at home at Chitowe in Dwangwa where they beat Lilongwe giants Civo United.
There are actually three other teams that need to tread carefully in order to escape relegation — 11th placed Civo United with 16 points, Red Lions on number 12 with 14 points and Wizards FC on 13th with 12 points. Only Wizards have one game left to complete the first round and it’s a tough one as well — away to second placed Blue Eagles at Nankhaka in Lilongwe.
So these three teams need to continually look over their shoulders because after their wins over the weekend, they will definitely come with renewed vigour for more upsets.
Dwangwa beat 11th-placed Civo United 2-1 away at Civo Stadium on Saturday, Karonga United beat Red Lions 2-1 at Mzuzu Stadium on Sunday while MTV Maxi Bullets chalked their first win of the debut season when they beat 4th-placed Mafco FC 3-2 at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday.
If Karonga, Dwangwa and Maxi Bullets will be tenacious enough, having proved that they are not to be considered as pushovers, they can slowly climb up the ladder in the second round.
They have tested how hot it can be in the country’s top flight league and they can make a good plan on how to overcome the challenges they met during the first round.
I haven’t witnessed in recent years players gleefully rushing to their coach after a win than what I saw on Sunday when Maxi Bullets ran after the final whistle to hug their mentor Aubrey Nankhuni, who seem to have brought some winning magic having being engaged as head coach just Monday last week.
And it is a match they will live to remember as they came from two goals behind to win 3-2 after Mafco had taken the two goal lead within the quarter hour.
But Nankhuni never wore a face of despair because he after the second goal was scored he applauded them as a sign of encouragement and gave them the thumbs up sign that everything was going on well. He then made sure he substituted goalkeeper Alex Masina — who was jittery — for Maxwell Dzowa.
It was quite exciting to see Maxi Bullets keeping their composure and went on to score in the 33rd minute and equalised in the two minutes of added time.
Just a minute into the second half, they took the lead and went on to defend — and attack — to survive the onslaught that Mafco applied. The youthful side also survived an intense 13 minutes of time added following goalkeepers’ injury treatment stoppages.
That’s how they can survive relegation if they play as tenaciously as they did against Mafco. The same goes with the two Uniteds, Karonga and Dwangwa and if they work as their game plan well, coupled with the other teams doing some damage to the teams at their top, they can see themselves surviving.
It needs a very good work plan like what Maxi did by engaging another coach in Nankhuni. This is a coach who suits so well with youngsters and with veteran Jacob Ngwira in the side, I am quite sure all is not lost yet — there are still 15 more games to play.
I wish you all the best and make this season one of the best which has come with a new innovation — the live coverage of the games through Beta Television.
So far, Beta TV has beamed live four matches — Mighty Wanderers vs Blue Eagles; Big Bullets against Silver Strikers two weeks ago and Wanderers v Kamuzu Barracks and Maxi Bullets v Mafco — all at Kamuzu Stadium.
Utilise this glamour and prove that it will not be a stroll in the park when the veteran Super League teams date you three. Good luck.
Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :