After playing second fiddle to their bitter rivals Big Bullets in recent memory, Mighty Be Forward Wanderers had the last laugh on Saturday, August 29, 2015 when they conquered their sworn enemies 2-1 in the final of the K30 million Carlsberg Cup competition played before a mammoth crowd at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.
Meeting their arch-rivals in a cup final for the first time since the two sides’ Carlsberg Cup final was abandoned in 2003 due to violence that broke out after a disallowed golden goal for Wanderers, the Nomads came with a mission to prove they were the rightful candidates for the cup during that ill-feted final.
They played with determination, forcing the ‘People’s team’ on the back foot from the very early moments.
As the saying goes: Knock and the door shall open, the door opened for the Nomads after just a quarter of an hour when Lilongwe based Fifa referee Patrick ‘Leo’ Ngoleka awarded them a penalty after striker Luka Milanzi was tripped down by defender Miracle Gabeya as he tried to open fire from the box.
From the penalty spot, veteran striker Victor Nyirenda sent Bullets’ goalkeeper Owen Chaima the wrong foot to put his side in front.
A spate of fouls committed by Wanderers players in the course of the game led to Bullets coming back into the game in first half added time as Jaffali Chande nodded home a dangerous free kick by Yamikani Fodya, who has established himself as Bullets’ free kick specialist.
Came the last half, Bullets took control of the proceedings, forcing the Wanderers’ bench to introduce hard working midfielder Rafik Mussa for ineffective Alfred Junior Manyozo. The coming in of Mussa brought stability in Wanderers’ midfield and the game became a balanced affair.
With Mussa doing the donkey work on the centre of the pitch, attacking midfielder Kondwani Kumwenda got a chance to pop into Bullets’ danger zone and unleash agony in the Bullets’ empire midway into the last half. The midfielder ghosted into the box to connect home a Ten Sumani cross.
Jacob Ngwira came on for Milanzi as the Nomads took a tight grip on their slender lead. Bullets also made their changes, bringing in Diverson Mlozi for Mussa Manyenje and Jelesi Lufeyo for Eneya Banda after Fischer Kondowe had made way for McFallen Ngwira at the start of the send half.
Bullets’ had an injury time penalty appeal by Mlozi rejected by Ngoleka and the writing was on the wall for the red and white camp.
Wanderers’ coach Elia Kananji, who won the Carlsberg Cup with Bullets last year was over the moon after the final whistle.
“It’s rare to win a cup in two consecutive seasons with two different teams and I thank God for what He has done for us.
“I also thank the boys for playing with determination and implementing what we did during training,” said Kananji.
Kananji, while admitting it was a tough game, gave credit to his team for the good work.
“It was a contribution from everyone from the Wanderers family. We were united and our collective efforts won us the cup. The fans were wonderful too,” said Kananji.
Bullets vice general secretary Kelvin Moyo, who spoke for the side after the whistle accepted the defeat and congratulated Wanderers for their victory.
“It’s painful to lose to our arch-rivals but congratulations to Wanderers. It was their day to day,” he said.
However, Bullets team manager Raheem Ishamel blamed the referee for the loss.
“We have been ‘robbed’ of victory by the referee. That was a clear penalty,” said Ishmael.
Amongst the huge crowd that witnessed the final was State Vice President Dr Saulos Chilima, who presented the cup to Wanderers.
Before the final match, fans were entertained by sky divers, who landed on the on the pitch from the sky. There were also martial arts displays by Malawi Defence Force soldiers.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :