You don’t need the Timau Crew to tell you the May 20 Malawi Electoral Commission sponsored cup final is turning into the most open in Malawi’s political football history, with Peoples Party (PP), Democratic Progressive Party (DPP), Malawi Congress Party (MCP) and United Democratic Front (UDF) all slugging it out for the title. The winners will be crowned champions of political football in Malawi.
So far, out of the 54 registered clubs only 10 have showed willingness to participate in the cup final according to MEC.
The Timau Crew followed the 4 top teams tipped to win the cup in their training camps and discovered many secret things and we now report.
PP, in terms of power, the squad is in another dimension. You can’t compare their situation with any other team. Cash-gate money, glamour and the fact that they are defending champions’ makes PP favourites to win the title.
Manager, Joyce Banda, knows that she must be a success in this political football cup final or go back to head the National Business Women Association (NABW)
Big spenders or is it cashgaters, PP, are the only team in the league that has recruited many players.
To strengthen her squad, Banda has signed Chris Daza and Bester Majoni from MCP on loan. Joyce Banda has also recruited pensioner, Gwanda Chakuamba on a 6 months deal to assume the role of Manchester United’s Ryan Giggs at PP.
With attacking left midfielder, Henry Phoya ruled out for 8 months with a hamstring injury, Banda will be praying for the quick recovery of Zikhale Ng’oma from a thigh injury he sustained in a friendly in Nkhatabay primaries. Again, missing in Banda’s line up will be holding midfielder Grace Maseko who did not sign a new contract and Ken Msonda who is nursing a knee ligament injury he sustained in a cup tie in Rumphi primaries finals.
Banda faced with the stiff competition will revert to a 4-5-1 formation with experienced left footed Brown Minganjira playing as a lone striker. Mpinganjira scored a hat trick in the Tiuzeni zoona cup final organised by Zodiak Radio when PP played Voice Mhone’s “wear black on Monday”.
Khumbo Kachale, Uladi Mussa, Wakuda Kamanga will man the defence with Chris Daza coming in as a last minute replacement because Sidik Mia has quit PP for mega-bucks move to MCP.
High –level talks are rumoured to be underway between Mia’s agents and MCP.
In midfield, Banda will depend on dribbler Catherine Gotani Hara. PP’s chances of winning have been boosted by the signing of a 4-year deal by diminutive midfielder, Sosten Gwengwe.
Speaking at Masintha ground, Lilongwe where he signed his £250 000 per week deal, Gwengwe told Manager Banda that, “There are people who truly love you and others do not. Some wish you well everyday and others do not. Some of us are with you and will be with you. We will not leave you”.
In a surprise move, PP has also signed out of form Binton Kutsaira from MCP on loan possibly to strengthen their weakened defence after the departure of Cassim Chilumpha and Sidik Mia.
DEMOCRATIC PROGRESSIVE PARTY
Manager Peter Mutharika doesn’t do panic buy…. and just because many players left DPP for big spenders PP, there is no need for him to rush out and grab a bargain.
The DPP squad is good enough to carry on regardless.
DPP is the Arsenal of this cup final. They have maintained their squad and by now they understand each other very well.
Rumours are rife that Frank Mwenefumbo who was not used in a friendly in Karonga by PP might rejoin his former team DPP. Unlike Joyce Banda who is using a 4-5-1 formation because she is defending the title, Mutharika will use a more attacking formula and that’s a 4-2-4 formation.
Unlike Banda, who has pinned down her selection choices on political footballers only, Mutharika has cast his net wide. He has recruited the Mulli brothers from the business team to strengthen his defence and he is likely to recall holding midfielder, Allan Z Ntata who plays professional football in the United Kingdom to boost up his squad.
Jean Kalilani and Vuwa Kaunda will pattern in central defence with Heartherwik Ntaba and Noel Masangwi playing in the right and left backs respectively.
New recruits, Shadow MP Scholastic Naphiyo will man the midfield with Nicholas Dausi, Ntata, Patricia Kaliati and Namakhwa all working out for the goals.
It seems the Malawian supporters have regained support for the DPP and Betting houses are tipping them as winners of the cup at 2/5.
MALAWI CONGRESS PARTY
Just like Alex Ferguson of Manchester United retired from the managerial role, John Tembo, the Ferguson of MCP did like wise. Is Lazarous Chakwera the David Moyes of MCP? We are yet to see.
When Nyasa Times visited their training base, it was very difficult for one to know which players or system Manager Chakwera is going to use.
Chakwera has maintained the same John Tembo team like Moyes at Manchester United, but like Moyes, who has bought Juan Mata, Chakwera has made the most expensive buy in the whole of political football in Malawi, like Real Madrid did with the 86 million pounds buy of Gareth Bale, Chakwera broke the bank and made a world record buy of Jessie Kabwila from University Unions team. This lethal striker is likely to strengthen the misfiring MCP striking force. Tony Kandiero and Malumbo are likely to man the defence.
UNITED DEMOCRATIC FRONT
When the going gets tough, the tough gets going so they say-and if that’s the case UDF youthful manager should be cruising at high speed if he is to out smart the other experienced managers. Unfortunately, for Manager Atupele Muluzi, too many of those pulling on the yellow shirts lack the political football cup final experience.
UDF lost most of its experienced players to New Labour and PP during the summer transfer window hence Atupele promoted players like Ken Ndanga from his youth team.
Losing veteran players was a big blow to Manager Atupele but this should be the time when the new players should be taking the bull by the horns.
The likes of Kandi Padambo, Faustace Chirwa and Ken Ndanga should pattern well with experienced Lillian Patel.
Political football pundits are arguing that UDF is not a strong team as it used to be. The way things are at the minute; we, the Timau Crew are not certain too many people would pick UDF first like they used to.
The vacuum left by the experienced players who went to PP and New Labour has not been filled yet and this is affecting UDF.
There is no disguising the fact that UDF have an absolute mountain to climb and Atupele needs the players to help him. However, Atupele is using a unique “Agenda for change” system that can easily take other teams by surprise as giant killers.
We can happily conclude that the May, 20 MEC sponsored cup final is open to all teams. There is no one team that can claim to win the cup. However, it seems there is enough about all teams to keep them firing on all cylinders right through until May. PP, DPP, MCP and UDF all have the ammunition to propel them to victory.
On the other hand, one cannot over look other teams like PPM, New Labour, Petra, Chipani Chafuko and others. All these teams have got professional political footballers that can turn the tables upside down and shock Malawians.
The Timau Crew and management of Nyasa Times wish all teams a successful and violent free tournament.