Ready, steady, Nomads— Malawi champions set for CAF

Malawi’s CAF Champions League ambassadors Mighty Be Forward Wanderers boosted their preparations for the continental showpiece with a convincing 2-0 victory over rivals Nyasa Big Bullets in a friendly match, which drew a large crowd at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday, February 3, 2018.

Blessings Tembo surrounded by Nyasa Bullets players.-Photo by Leonard Sharra, Nyasa Times

Emergency service: Nyoni taken into ambulance to hospital.-Photo by Leonrad Sharra, Nyasa Times

Nomads celebrate goal against Bullets. Ready to repeat performace in Kinshasa.-Photo by Leonard Sharra, Nyasa Times

A goal in each half from captain Joseph Kamwendo and veteran striker Esau Kanyenda was enough to grant them victory over their bitter rivals.

However, coach Yasin Osman played down the result, saying they were playing a side, which had specifically regrouped for the friendly match.

“We are more prepared than we were before this game but should not read too much into the result of today’s game because Bullets just regrouped for this friendly match. We thank Bullets for helping us prepare for the CAF Champions League. They gave us a good run throughout the game,” said Osman after the match.

Featuring their three new recruits- Righteous Banda from Civil Sporting and Patrick Phiri from Premier Bet Wizzard as well as Sankhani Mkandawire, who was making a comeback after a short spell in Mozambique, Bullets started the game impressively, raising some doubts on the Nomads’ preparedness for the coming weekend’s Champions’ League first leg away at AS Vita in the DRC.

Despite their dominance, Bullets conceded just after 12 minutes into the game as Wanderers’ captain Joseph Kamwendo beat goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe from 25-metres out after the Bullets’ custodian had moved some few metres from his goal-line.

The second half saw both sides making numerous changes with Bullets introducing Bashir Maunde, Maneno Nyoni, Collins Nkhulambe and Mussa Manyenje for Kondwani Kumwenda, Mike Mkwate, Righteous Banda and Chiukepo Msowoya.

Wanderers brought in Peter Cholopi, Essau Kanyenda, Dan Kumwenda, Felix Zulu, Mike Kaziputa and Niyikiza Aimable for Harry Nyirenda, Blessings Tembo, Rafik Namwera, Yamikani Chester, Joseph Kamwendo and Peter Wadabwa.

Kanyenda claimed the second for Wanderers after connecting home a hard and low drive from Chester before the former Azam Tigers’ match maker paved way for Zulu.

The entire stadium was gripped with fear and anxiety five minutes from time, when Nyoni fell awkwardly on the ground after a head-on collision with Aimable and laid on the ground motionless. Both referee Patrick Ngoleka and players from the two camps were seen signaling for quick first aid attention and the first aid vehicle had to drive straight to the field to carry the player to the hospital.

In a post-match interview, Bullets’ team manager James Chilapondwa could not shed more light on the extent of the injury but said the player was in a stable condition by the time he was rushed to hospital.

On the game itself, Chilapondwa said he was impressed with the way the team’s new recruits blended with the old guards and hoped for a brighter 2018 season campaign.

There was drama prior to the match as there were no match officials to officiate the game. Organisers had to hunt for referees, who only appeared at the pitch after one and half hours of the scheduled kick-off time.

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