The 2017 Airtel Top 8 quarterfinals take place this weekend, with the Lilongwe derby among several enticing fixtures.
Kamuzu Barracks team manager Francis Shawa and Blue Eagles coach Audrey Makonyola had an exclusive interview with Nyasa Times on Tuesday, ahead of their showdown on Sunday.
Shawa said their match was going to be a different ball game.
“It’s the Lilongwe derby and both teams will want to win it. We lost our League game on Saturday against Wanderers, and we do not want to make the same mistake on Sunday in the Airtel Top 8,”
“We need to be very careful against Blue eagles. Cup games are always difficult and it will be a crunch encounter,” said the outspoken manager.
Blue Eagles coach Audrey Makonyola described Sunday’s encounter tricky basing on the fact that both teams are from the same city.
Makonyola said: “It is a derby yes, but our derby cannot be compaired with lest say the Blantyre derby which is hyped and it gets to the players.
“This is a small derby and it’s for the players to say we have improved and let’s move past the game against Kamuzu Barracks.
Meanwhile Nyasa Big Bullets will be looking for an improved performance against Silver Strikers after their frustrating trip from Mzuzu in the League game.
The Peoples Team managed to collect a point after drawing 0-0 against Chitipa United before loosing 1-0 to Moyale Barracks.
Bullets will travel to Lilongwe to face Silver Strikers at the Bingu National Stadium.
Bullets coach Swanzurwimo Ramadhan said they will rectify their problems which they encountered in Mzuzu, while Silver Strikers coach Lovemore Fazil said playing at home will give them an added advantage to beat the visitors.
In another quarter final on Saturday, Moyale Barracks will face Mafco in Dwangwa.
The Mzuzu based soldiers will be beaming with confidence having beaten Nyasa Big Bullets in the League, while in the other camp, Mafco have a home ground advantage
In another mouthwatering fixture on Sunday, Be Forward Wanderers hosts Azam Tigers at Balaka Stadium.
Wanderers coach Yasin Osman said despite key injuries in their camp they are set for the showdown.
For instance, the Nomads have a pool of injured players like Jabulani Linje, Amos Bello, Khumbo Ng’ambi, Precious Msosa, Precious Sambani, Ishmael Thindwa and their left back Francis Mulimbika is also doubtful after picking an injury during their Sunday friendly match against Mchinji Boma Stars.
“We have a pool of players, and l do not think these injuries will affect us much. We have to go in the field of play with a positive mind,” he said.
His opposite member, Patrick Kulemeka said they respect Wanderers, but come Sunday they are ready to gundown them.
“They have experienced players, but in a game of football we feature same number of players. We are looking forward to the game and all l can ask Kau-Kau fans is to come to Balaka in their large numbers to support us,” said Kulemeka.
The prestigious trophy will see the winner carting home a cool K15 million while the runners-up will get a K5 million consolation.
That is not all. All the participating teams were given a K1 million subvention each.
The slogan of the tournament is making football alive.
The tournament has also mouthwatering individual awards with the player of the tournament and top scorer each walking away with a whopping K500 000.
The fans have not been left out in the cold and the outstanding supporter will get K200 000.
In the media category, the best reporter for Television, print, radio, online and photographer will also walk away with K200,000.
During the launch, Airtel managing director (MD) Charles Kamoto said it was time for Airtel to sponsor and develop club football in the country, while FAM president Walter Nyamilandu said he was overwhelmed with excitement.
2017 Airtel Top 8 First-Leg Quarter Final Fixtures
13th May 2017 (Saturday)
- Silver Strikers vs Nyasa Big Bullets @ Bingu Stadium
- Mafco FC vs Moyale Barracks@ Chitowe Stadium.
14th May 2017 (Sunday)
- Be Forward Wanderers vs Azam Tigers @ Balaka Stadium.
- Kamuzu Barracks vs Blue Eagles @ Civo Stadium.
All games to kick-off at 2:30pm.
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