Will Tigers set another record: Standard Bank Cup final

As Capital City giants Silver Strikers and Blantyre based Azam Tigers step onto the turf at Civo Stadium to battle for the K9 million top prize in the K28 million Standard Bank Knock-out Cup, two big  questions keep lingering in the minds of soccer loving fans.

Excited with tourney progress- Mashanda
Excited with tourney progress- Mashanda
Tigers dance after reaching final, will they dance again.
Tigers dance after reaching final, will they dance again.

The first question being asked is whether Azam Tigers, a team only voted by Standard Bank customers to participate in the competition will set another record by becoming the first side backed by the bank’s customers to lift the prestigious cup.

Secondly, fans are wondering if Silver Strikers, playing in the Knock-out final for a third successive year will get it wrong once again.

Only the final whistle at Civo will answer the two questions but what is certain is that fans from Lilongwe and surrounding districts will watch a thrilling cup final.

Ranked mere outsiders after failing to earn automatic qualification into this year’s tournament, Azam Tigers last week set a record of being the first voted team to reach the final and will be out to make another record by winning the cup.

“We would like to thank the customers who voted us into the tournament by winning the cup and we do not see what will stop us from grabbing the cup. We know it will be tough playing against a team that has lost in the previous two finals but that again is an indication that Silver are beatable in a cup final,” said Azam Tigers’ technical director Robin Alufandika in an interview with Nyasa Times on Friday.

But Silver Strikers’ head coach Stain Chirwa feels it is now time for the Reserve Bank sponsored outfit to set the record straight.

“We are not ready to lose in another cup final and the boys are going to put more than 100 percent effort to win the cup which has eluded us in our home city including our own home ground within the last two years two years,” said Chirwa, who was in-charge when Silver lost 1-0 to Mighty Wanderers in last year’s final at Civo Stadium.

Sponsors Standard Bank have not hidden their excitement at seeing a team selected by their customers reaching the final and have urged more fans and customers to participate in the final event.

“It is exciting to see a team chosen by our own customers making it to the final and we are looking forward to seeing more fans and customers participate in the final. We urge the fans to remain peaceful and let the best team win,” said Standard Bank’s Managing Director Andrew Mashanda after watching last week’s semi-final involving Tigers and Mafco at Silver Stadium.

According to the bank’s head of marketing Chimwemwe Matonga, fans should expect an afternoon full of entertainment and surprises.

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