The race for the 2017 TNM Super League is really tight for top contenders, leaders Mighty Be Forward Wanderers, runners-up Silver Strikers and third-placed Nyasa Big Bullets with 4th-placed Blue Eagles and 5th-placed Moyale Barracks lurking by.
Wanderers, at 44 points, lead with six points ahead of Silver and Bullets tie on 38 points. The Nomads and Bullets have a game in hand of the Bankers played.
What will be hot in this second round is that Silver and the Bullets have won this season’s cup and in both finals they beat Wanderers in post match penalties in the Airtel Top 8 Cup and The Carlsberg Cup respectively.
So Wanderers surely are like a wounded buffalo and must be applying an extra gear to, at least win the league title or retain the FISD Challenge Cup they were the first to clinch last season.
At the same time, Silver shall be making sure they remain unbeaten in the hope of winning the league title that has eluded them for quite some time while the Bullets might hope to keep their momentum going and try to win the title they missed by a whisker last season.
The People’s Team were among the favourites to do well in the 2016 season in their quest to defend the TNM Super League for the third consecutive year. Their inconsistency — especially through the many draws they incurred — cost them their campaign to defend the league title but they can still take comfort that against all odds they finished an enviable second position.
And also the People’s Team had the consolation was winning the Presidential Cup, which was the first cup on offer in 2016, having beaten Moyale Barracks in the final.
With the Carlsberg Cup in the bag and slowly chasing for the title, Big Bullets still pose a huge threat to both Wanderers and Silver and with the FISD Challenge in sight, this season really is another interesting chapter.
Round One of the FISD Challenge for the Super League teams sees Moyale Barracks hosting Wanderers, Silver Strikers hosting Mafco while Bullets shall be away to Dwangwa United. The other games are Civil Sporting up against Azam Tigers, Red Lions dating Masters Security, Mzuni v Wizards, Blantyre United v Kamuzu Barracks while Blue Eagles will meet Chitipa United.
Another development is that the second round of the league has an interesting twist in which teams shall be fighting to remain in the top eight to compete in the Airtel Top 8 Cup. Currently the top eight teams on the log table Wanderers (414 points), Silver (38), Bullets (38), Blue Eagles (34), Moyale (31), Civo Sporting (30), Azam Tigers and Mafco .
Contenders for the top eight are Mzuni (26), Kamuzu Barracks (22) and Red Lions (20). None of the current top eight might want to drop points in order to compete in the lucrative Airtel Cup whose champions are Silver Strikers.
At the same time the Mzuni, Kamuzu Barracks and Red Lions will fight tooth and nail to dislodge whoever might be careless above them while three teams at the bottom — Dwangwa United (14th), Blantyre United (15th) and Chitipa United (16th) — shall be battling to escape relegation.
Dwangwa have 19 points — tying with 13th-placed Masters Security — and one point below 12th-placed Wizards and two below 11th-placed Red Lions. Debutantes Blantyre United and Chitipa United very likely to face the chop.
Every game counts for each of the 16 teams because these factors and that makes another interesting season and adding to that excitement is seven hat-tricks have been scored with two from Blue Eagles’ Mphatso Filimoni, one each from Silver’s Victor Limbani, Vincent Nyangulu from Masters Security, Jide Mbandambanda of Blantyre United, Innocent Bokosi from Red Lions and Raphael Phiri of Civil Sporting.
None comes from the top teams Wanderers, Silver and Bullets and the consolation is that Wanderers and Bullets conceded just six goals apiece while Silver remain unbeaten.
Fans shall really enjoy an intriguing finale to the 2017 season to see who reigns supreme.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :