‎KB shatter Eagles’ title dreams as Bankers soak Crocodiles in mud: Malawi TNM Super League

Fresh from last week’s FISD Cup final defeat at the hands of Mighty Be Forward Wanderers, Kamuzu Barracks FC made no more mistakes on Sunday, December 18, 2016 when they ended Blue Eagles’ title dreams after crashing the cops 2-0 at their Nankhaka Ground to remain on top of the TNM Super League standings.

Diof Simaone gets a challenge from Eagles player.- Photo by Alex Mwazalumo, Nyasa Times
KB celebrate the second goal.- Photo by Alex Mwazalumo, Nyasa Times
Shawa lifted high by his players.- Photo by Alex Mwazalumo, Nyasa Times
KB celebrate beating Eagles, Photo by Alex Mwazalumo
Munthali beaten by Malata free kick.- Photo by Alex Mwazalumo, Nyasa Times
Silver’s Blessings Tembo takes on a Karonga defender.- Photo by Alex Mwazalumo, Nyasa Times
Creating a passage for rain water from the turf at Nankhaka.- Photo by Alex Mwazalumo, Nyasa Times
Maganizo stretchered off the pitch after being fouled.- Photo by Alex Mwazalumo, Nyasa Times
Silver’s Blessings Kamiza tips the ball over.- Photo by Alex Mwazalumo, Nyasa Times

The titanic clash nearly failed to take place as both teams refused to take to the field, which was water-logged following a prolonged heavy downpour experienced in the capital city prior to the match.

However, Super League of Malawi (Sulom) officials present insisted that the game be played, citing another league clash involving Silver Strikers and Karonga United, which was being played a stone-throw away from Nankhaka in similar playing conditions.

It was eventually established by Nyasa Times, which operated in between the playing fields at Area 30 and Area 47 that the pitch condition at Silver Stadium, where the other match was taking place was actually worse than Nankhaka.

After discussions and consultations involving Sulom, match officials and the clubs, the hosts accepted to play, leaving the soldiers from Malawi Defence Force (MDF) headquarters with no choice but to follow suit. The match started over an hour late.

The visiting soldiers took the lead five minutes to the break following a thunderous striker from former Flames’ international Davie Banda, which beat Eagles’ custodian John Soko at the far post.

The cops tried all they could to level the scores in the second half but were dealt a severe blow eight minutes from time, when Manase Chiesa claimed the second goal for the visitors after a lapse of concentration in the hosts’ central defence. That probably marked the end of a dream for the Lexten Kachama boys.

Head coach Deklerk Msakakuona admitted after the final whistle things were no longer in the Eagles’ hands.

“We have made things difficult for ourselves. Things are no longer in our hands and unless a miracle happens, we are out of contention. Congratulations to Kamuzu Barracks to taking their chances,” said the Eagles’ coach.

KB’s flamboyant team manager Francis ‘Nthukwa’ Shawa hailed his boys for a mission well accomplished but said the battle was still on.

“We have passed through the first hurdle but the battle is far from over because we have to contend against a team (Karonga) that is fighting against relegation and another side (Dwangwa United) that is tough to beat at home. But we will take the games as they come,” said Shawa.

With the win, KB remain top with 55 points from 28 games and just need to win their remaining two games to become the first military team to win the league championship. Big Bullets, who won 1-0 against Dwangwa at Kamuzu Stadium are second with 54 points from the same number of games and Silver are fourth on 53 points followed by Eagles on 51.

At the Silver Stadium, the Crocodiles from Karonga failed to swim in the muddy waters as a merciless Silver side, led by captain Lucky Malata whipped them 5-0.

Malata headed in the opener from a Timothy Chitedze corner kick just four minutes into the game before Karonga defender Nangaunozge Luhanga stabbed the ball into his own net on 33 minutes to leave his team trailing 2-0 at half-time.

Binwell Katinji made it 3-0 shortly after resumption with a long-range strike before Malata claimed a brace from a direct free-kick, which was awarded after Karonga defender Malumbo Mwenelupembe had fouled Levison Maganizo. The foul earned Mwenelupembe the marching orders from referee Easter Zimba, who had earlier booked the defender for a similar offence.

Victor ‘Vibri’ Limbani sealed the last nail on Karonga’s coffin with a long range drive that beat goalkeeper Lloyd Munthali to the far post.

The defeat left the Crocodiles deep in relegation waters with 27 points from 29 games ahead of their home clash against hot title Kamuzu Barracks. A loss against the soldiers will automatically condemn the side from the border district back to the regional league but a win or draw might prove vital if Civo United and Premier Bet Wizards fail to go beyond the 27 points’ mark.

Wizards are at par with the Crocodiles on 27 points with an away assignment against Red Lions remaining and have a better goal-difference compared to Karonga while Civo are six points below with three fixtures against Bullets, Azam Tigers and defunct Max Bullets to go.

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