Daring Big Bullets make a long-awaited return to continental football when facing Fomboni Club du Moheil in Comoros Islands during Sunday’s 2015 Caf Champions League match.
The build-up to the preliminary round, first leg match has been characterised by several logistical setbacks due to inadequate funding and poor planning.
The Bullets ventured into the continental event without sponsorship backing and have been surviving the hard way on hope.
Coached by Burundian Nsanzuwrimo Ramadhan, the Bullets travelled 20 hours by road from Blantyre on Sunday and stopped over in Tanzania from where they were on Saturday expected to connect to the India Ocean islands.
Hours after four players, including news signing Chiukepo Msowoya, were declared ineligible by Caf on Thursday, the Bullets chairperson Kondie Msungama summed up the hitches by saying “Malawians Kondie and Bullets have done their part. It is now up to the nation.”
Just when all appeared to be heading for a crisis, Malawi league sponsors TNM gave the Bullets a K15 million rescue package. However, beyond the preliminary round, it is difficult imaging where the funds will come from.
The Bullets need some K180 million to fulfil the Caf games and the only hope is on an SMS fund-raising drive being championed by TNM whose public relations and sponsorship manager Limbani Nsapato has hope in a good result.
“It is our hope that Big Bullets would be able to replicate their hard-working, organised and consistent standards which they demonstrated during the 2014 TNM Super League Season,” Nsapato told supersport.com.
“They never gave up even when the going got tough. They remained resilient to pressure on and off the pitch. We at TNM believe that discipline was key to Bullets FC’s success and this should also help them excel in their Caf encounter against Fomboni FC.”
On the pitch, the Bullets have experienced campaigners James Chilapondwa and captain Fischer Kondowe who are remnants from the 2004 bunch, which in a one-off appearance in the continental league, caused a sensation to reach the group stages while dismissing Orlando Pirates of South Africa, Zanaco (Zambia) and SC Villa from Uganda.
“I am so sure we can again make history and better our record of 2004. In football, anything can happen,” Kondowe told supersport.com.
The Bullets have taken to the Comoros some exciting talent such as winger Dalitso Sailesi and striker Mussa Manyenje whose late surge to form last season turned the Bullets into domestic league champions for the first time since 2005.
However, the Bullets should appreciate that they are up against the opposition whose strength they hardly know and have home backing, Fomboni’s Malawian striker Wister Phiri warns.
Fomboni have been boosted by the return of Mauritius coach Moise Loub and new signing striker Marius who is expected to partner Phiri in attack.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :