The footballing society will grind to a halt on Saturday to witness what many protagonists have labelled ‘the greatest match of Malawi’. Its Fischer Kondowe vs Isaac Kaliati. Red vs Blue. Blantyre derby in the capital Lilongwe. Big Bullets vs Mighty Wanderers in prestigious Carlsberg Cup final at Civo Stadium.
Both teams have intensified their preparations ahead of the big encounter and Nyasa Times senior sports reporter Jeromy Kadewere went to visit both teams on Wednesday in their training camps starting with Bullets at Moneymen ground before going to Limbe Country Club for Wanderers to meet captains of the teams.
Bullets, who currently top the flagship TNM Super League table and unbeaten, are favourites on paper to win the trophy which they are defending.
Their captain Fischer Kondowe believes it will be tough match.
“We are aware of the excitement of rivalry clash. But the key for us is not to be taken up by the hype and we are taking it just like any other game. We have just beaten Silver Strikers and next up is Wanderers,” Kondowe said.
“And while we acknowledge that Wanderers have some dangerous players in the likes of Isaac Kaliati and Rafiq Mussa, it will be a mistake for us to single them out for special attention.
“We are focusing on stopping Wanderers as a team. At this stage, the most important thing for us is not who the opposition is but rather the need to make sure we don’t make any silly mistakes.”
Kondowe has vast experience in such games and said he will help Bullets players to understand what it means playing at such a stage.
“You have to remember that we come from very disappointing years especially the last time when we met in the same cup, where the game ended abruptly due to violence’s. We still have some anger from that. We’d be fools to let what happened that time to happen again.
“We are going to do our best to defend the cup. We really believe that this is the time to defend Carlsberg Cup and make history. We won’t let it slip. My appeal to our fans is to observe discipline after the game. “
By contrast, Mighty Be Forward Wanderers are riding a ‘crisis’ storm of their own, with injury plague of their key players.
Their captain Francis Mlimbika is doubtful for the clash due to injury.
But he says: “Derbies are always difficult and a loss against Bullets can psychologically wound us building up to the second round of the league. We lost to Bullets in the first round and we don’t want to see a reoccurrence of that in the Carlsberg Cup Finals.
“There are a whole lot of talented players to replace those on injury list. It’s going to be a tricky affair. We just have to focus and operate as a unit.
“The last time we lost our game to Bullets l was very disappointed. After that defeat we sat down as players and the technical staff and spoke about what we wanted to get out of this season.
“This is a must win for us. I appeal to our fans to come in their large numbers to drum support to us. They should also desist from any acts of violence.”
To qualify for the finals, Bullets thumped Silver Strikers 3-0 while the Nomads edged Moyale Barracks 1-0.
Bullets are the current holders. They won the cup last year after beating Zomba United 2-0.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :