Stereo Gondwe claimed his first win at Mangochi Stadium after Royal Bokosi’s goal gave the Zomba based soldiers a shocking 1–0 win over champions, Be Forward Wanderers on Sunday.
Bokosi struck in the first half to earn Gondwe his first win against the Nomads since he was handed the mantle to head Red Lions.
While Bokosi’s neat strike boosted his side’s hopes of climbing up to third position on the log table, it dealt a severe blow to Wanderers’ hopes of defending their title as they are now perched on position 12.
Victory would have moved the Lali Lubani side level on points with Blue Eagles, Karonga United, Dwangwa United and TN Stars, who have 11 points, as the Nomads remain with eight points.
Bob Mpinganjira’s first game since he took the mantle from Yasin Osman, who is a Technical Director was left frustrated by his team’s under-par display, which was summed up by a blunt striking force.
For Gondwe, the win confirmed Red Lions steady progress since he took charge and justified his team’s selection, including the decision to stick with new faces like that of James Chirwa.
Gondwe also opted to start with Boniface Kaulesi who partnered Mathews Simbeyi upfront while fantastic captain Benesi Kaisi marshaled the defence brilliantly.
The soldiers demonstrated no fear in taking the game to Wanderers from the kick – off.
That belief was summed up in the way they carved open the visitors’ defence to force the breakthrough.
However, the Nomads were dealt a big blow when injured Felix Zulu was replaced by Francisco Madinga.
Before his substitution, Zulu showed signs of being off the pace when he pulled a close-range volley across the face of the goal.
The Nomads who struggled a lot upfront where Zicco Mkanda partnered Esau Kanyenda lacked their usual killer punch.
While Red Lions keeper Brighton Ngwenyama was obliged to save sitters from Joseph Kamwendo, Francisco Madinga and Esau Kanyenda’s header, the Nomads struggled to create enough clear openings during the first half.
With most of their players ineffective, Bob Mpinganjira reacted to a disappointing first half by introducing Rafiq Namwera and Peter Wadabwa in an attempt to secure an equalizer but the soldiers defended in numbers.
Towards the end of the game, the initial signs were positive for the Nomads, although they could have fallen further behind had referee taken a different view of a handball incident which he waved play on.
The ball struck Ernest Nkasauka’s hand as Lucky Malata who produced his best performance in a Nomad shirt, attempted to cut inside the edge of the soldiers’ box.
To the soldier’s relief, the referee viewed the incident in a different way as he waved on for play on.
Wanderers stepped up the pressure in the latter stages, but Mkanda’s 83rd-minute shot summed up the day. Mkanda’s shot was too weak for Ngwenyama as the ball ended up in his palms.
After the last whistle, some Nomads players in disbelief took minutes to leave the field of play, as the soldiers were marching forward for their victory.
In post-match interviews, Red Lions Coach, Stereo Gondwe was delighted with the performance of his boys and insisted they will make Mangochi a no-go-zone for visitors.
Be Forward Wanderers coach, Bob Mpinganjira described the results of the game as a set back in their quest to defending the titleFollow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :