Malawi football champions Nyasa Big Bullets and Carlsberg Cup reigning champions Mighty Be Forward Wanderers have promised their fans to expect nothing but a highly entertaining and contested match as the two sides lock horns and re-launch their rivalry this weekend.
The two come face to face on Saturday 9th April, 2016 at Civo Stadium in an inaugural of the Chifundo Shield Cup organized by Football Association of Malawi (Fam) in partnership with the Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS).
Speaking ahead of the derby encounter, Nyasa Bullets Team Manager Rahim Ishmael said people should expect business as usual as it has always been when they meet Wanderers.
“Playing against Mighty Wanderers has always been good and people should expect a very exciting game. We are going for victory and I urge all our supporters to come in large numbers,” said Ishmael.
Ishmael has also pleaded with all supporters to donate blood in large numbers as one way of fulfilling the major objective of the Chifundo Shield Cup.
On his part, Wanderers deputy team manager Steve Madeira said they are prepared and confident that they will carry the day.
“We are really prepared and we will go flat out. We are going there for nothing but a win,” he said.
Just like Ishmael, Madeira has also encouraged all soccer loving Malawians to flock to various places in Lilongwe where MBTS has set blood collection points starting from Thursday to donate blood and
serve lives of people lacking blood in various hospitals.
Some of the points to donate blood are Area 23 Police Unit ground, Lilongwe City Mall, Unicef ground in Chinsapo 1, Mtsiliza ground among others.
On the match day, people will donate blood from 8am to 12pm.
According to Fam President Walter Nyamilandu, the shield cup will be an annual event to help MBTS collect enough blood since football is a biggest crowd pulling sport.
This year, MBTS expects to collect at least 250 units of blood.
Meanwhile, all proceeds from the match will be donated to Kamuzu Central Hospital to buy trolleys and other medical equipments.
The teams will only be provided with transport, accommodation and food expenses as well as appearance fee.
Tickets for the game will be on sale starting from Thursday this is according to Fam Commercial Director Limbani Matola.
Scores to settle
On both sides of the fence, the pressure is palpable, almost unbearable. Both teams are
battling for the first silverware before the 2016 season kicks-Off.
Going into the game, there are many scores to be settled by players and coaches from both sides.
Nyasa Big Bullets coach Franco Ndawa faces his former employers Be Forward Wanderers for the first time since being appointed at the Peoples Team this year as Mabvuto Lungu’s replacement.
But one factor common to both teams is the impact expected from Bullets Muhammad Sulumba and Wanderers Jimmy Zakazaka.
“Muha” as he was known while still at Wanderers, is probably one player in the Bullets camp looking to prove that the Nomads made a mistake by letting him go.
His controversial, sudden departure from Lali-Lubani road has not gone down well with the Nomads fans, who feel he betrayed his former team for putting him on the map when he was loaned at Wanderers from Blantyre United.
Sulumba will be looking to show Wanderers he has what it takes at the highest level by netting or playing a key role in seeing his side win on Saturday.
Having played a number of friendly matches since he joined Bullets, Sulumba still looked some way from full match fitness, but against Wanderers he is likely to do all in his power to get on the score sheet.
The former Nyasa Big Bullets striker has not set the world on fire in the Nomads ’ colours but the derby provides him with a great chance to remind Malawians what a prolific striker he still is.
Since his arrival at Lali-Lubani, Zakazaka has not delivered the masterful displays and goals he is known for.
But in the handful of pre-season matches he has played for Jack Chamangwana’s side, he has shown glimpses of the potent striker he can be.
Local fans though, have a tendency to remember what players do in matches of the magnitude of a Blantyre Derby rather than low- key encounters.
And scoring on Saturday is something Zakazaka knows would help him settle at Wanderers.
He has yet to strike up a potent partnership with either Peter Wadabwa or Jabulami Linje , but his versatility has proved to everyone he can fit easily into the system at Wanderers.—Additional reporting by Jeromy Kadewere, Nyasa TimesFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :