Carlsberg Cup defending champions Mighty Be Forward Wanderers kept their dream of returning the Cup alive and progress to the
quarterfinal stage of the competition after edging Salima based military side Mafco FC 1-0 in a highly contested and physical round of
16 match played at Balaka Stadium on Wednesday.
Wanderers who brought in all their arsenals looked composed from the word go.
They featured Richard Chipuwa in goals, Lucky Malata, Bongani Kaipa, Ted Sumani and Foster Namwera in defence while veteran Joseph Kamwendo, Rafiq Namwera, Alfred Manyozo and Yamikani Chester started in the midfield.
Precious Msosa partnered Jafali Chande upfront.
The Nomads nearly took the lead with only two minutes into the game through a Jafali Chande’s powerful header from right winger Yamikani Chester cross but his effort missed the target by a whisker.
Mafco led by Hassan ‘Anganga’ Chapola in the midfield alongside Maurice Chiumia, Mayamiko Mponda and Josephy Donsa strugled to keep possession in the opening eight minutes of the first half.
The soldiers also featured Chikondi Maloya, Emmanuel Chiteta, Calisto Kalinda, Dalitso Mwase and Stain Malata in their starting line up.
The Nomads got it right and took an early lead 10 minutes into the match through defender Kaipa.
He perfectly headed in a pin-pointed free kick from the left hand side which was floated into the penalty box by Kamwendo.
After the goal, Wanderers begun to control the proceedings giving Mafco no space to mannouvre until referee Aziz Nyirenda blew the
whistle marking the end of the first half.
Just after recess, Wanderers rested Msosa who was injured and was replaced with Peter Wadabwa who has been on the sidelines for weeks due to an injury.
The game game completely turned into a physical battle as both sides engaged themselves into rough style of play.
This prompted the referee to flash out unnecessary yellow cards as the two sides kept on firing blanks until the end of the match.
A silly foul from Kamwendo in the second half brought trouble to the Nomads and nearly costed the them the game after he was sent off for a second booking.
With unity; team spirit and hard working, the Nomads though dominated but were thwarted by some brave goal keeping by Mafco goalkeeper Jailosi Kapalamula.
Kapalamula made a brilliant save in the dying minutes tipping over a substitute Peter Wadabwa header from close range.
Still more, the Lali Lubani boys are through to the next phase hoping to reach the final and defend the cup but they will first have to
conquer their quarter final foes that would emerge at a draw to be conducted on Friday at Chilomoni Stadium where Michiru Madrid will be facing Chitipa United in another round of 16 fixture.
Speaking in a post match interview, Wanderers Head Coach Yasin Osman admitted Mafco gave gave a run for their money.
“We knew it will be a difficult and more physical game because we already beat them 3-0 in the league so we prepared for them very well. All in all i am happy that we are through to the quarterfinals” Osman told Nyasa Times.
He however blamed referee Azizi for losing concentration.
“The referee controlled the game in the first half but lost track in the second half and honestly we had a disappointing second half” he
On his part, Mafco Coach Temwa Msuku who was reluctant to grant press men an interview until Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Competitions Manager Gomezgani Zakazaka jumped in to convince him.
Msuku blamed his charges for giving Wanderers too much respect.
“The boys didn’t start the game well and to be realistic, they haven’t beaten us but we have beaten ourselves” said Msuku.
But he later added that: “Still more we have conceded the defeat and we will now focus on the league”.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :