Inaugural Airtel Top 8 winners Silver Strikers will start their title defence at home against cross-city rivals Civil Sporting Club in the quarter-finals following a draw held last night at Sunbird Capital Hotel in Lilongwe.
Blantyre rivals Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers have for the second time in a row managed to avoid each other as the Capital City derby was the only one so far.
There was also no repeat of last season’s quarter-final fixtures as Bullets, who faced the Bankers last year, were paired against Malawi Defence Force (MDF) outfit Moyale Barracks.
The Nomads, who faced Azam Tigers in the inaugural edition in 2017, will now play Kamuzu Barracks in this year’s edition.
Mafco, who faced fellow MDF side Moyale in 2017, have been paired against Malawi Police Service (MPS) outfit Blue Eagles.
Silver Strikers team manager Francis Songo welcomed the draw, saying it would bring excitement.
He said: “It makes it very exciting. Out of all the matches, this is the only derby. It’s a tough draw and as you know derbies are always difficult games. But we will give our best to reach the semi-finals. Civil have improved a lot and we need to be at our best to beat them.”
Civil vice-chairperson Owen Malijani said they were happy that they had been drawn against their rivals.
“This is our first time to compete in the tournament, so, getting Silver will give us an opportunity to show how good we are. We can’t complain. What we need is just to prepare thoroughly,” he said.
Meanwhile, Bullets and Moyale will be in a dress-rehearsal this weekend as the two sides clash in TNM Super League clash in Super League at Kalulu Stadium in Chikwakwa.
Bullets representative at the draw, Austin Kasito, warned the soldiers to prepare thoroughly for the tie.
The two-legged quarter-finals will kick-off on May 5 with the return legs set after a week.
Airtel Top 8 was launched last year with sponsors Airtel Malawi promising to pump in K198 million into the cup for three seasons, meaning, K66 million will be used each year.
Speaking before the draw, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) vice-president James Mwenda thanked Airtel Malawi for living up to its promise to bounce back this year.
Airtel Money country director Chris Sukasuka said the company was committed to its cause of uplifting football in the country.
“We are bringing more fun and entertainment to the soccer-loving Malawians,” he said.
FAM is expected to announce the fixture of the quarter-nails and the draw for the semi-final will be held after the second leg of the last quarter-final match.