So many times we have heard complaints from football fans that the Blantyre derby between traditional rivals Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers is overrated, but not last Saturday’s.
Those that witnessed the return of the Blantyre derby to Kamuzu Stadium after two years, surely left the stadium satisfied.
From the first whistle to the last one, the action was pulsating and breathtaking.
It was a derby that blended the young and the old, resulting in what football fans have starved of for over a decade.
Player of the moment, Yamikani Chester lit up the stadium with his scintillating pace and dribbles.
His final touch was flawless and deservedly got his third consecutive man of the match award.
After an injury scare at national team training, there were doubts on his availability in the derby.
He played this in supporters’ minds when all Wanderers players entered the pitch, except him.
Then, emerging from the tunnel, the lanky winger shuffled into the pitch and boy, Wanderers supporters went into a frenzy.
When referee Ishmael Chizinga blew the whistle to kick-off the game, Chester did not waste time to steal the show.
He zigzagged through a forest of Bullets defence, tormenting them at will and this earned him some crude tackles.
With Chester in such envious form, veterans Esau Kanyenda and Joseph Kamwendo simply put the icing on the cake.
Wanderers’ goal in the 20th minute was a pure combination of two great football brains synchronized to work together.
Kamwendo’s left foot whipped in a set piece at the corner and Kanyenda’s head automatically responded like a robot—Bullets goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda could not keep it out.
Bullets woke up from their slumber towards the end to the first half.
After pulling out Bashir Maunde for Bright Munthali, its attack machinery burst into life.
Munthali almost levelled on the dot of first-half when his header was cleared on the line by impressive Nenani Juwaya, another youngster who also stole the show.
Youngster Patrick Phiri and Nelson Kangunje had a quiet first-half, but after half-time pep talk, they came back to show what they are capable of.
They took the game to Wanderers defence and it was just a matter of time before the Nomads defence would succumb to the pressure.
Veteran Fischer Kondowe proved why he still gets a place in starting XI when he was well positioned to tap in a searching cross from MacFarlen Mgwira.
The two giants have drawn in plenty of games. But for once, supporters were more than happy to see their team walk away with a point each.
After coughing K2 500, a Blantyre-based fan, Geoffrey Chimkango, said it was worth his tambala.
“I have no regrets. My money has been well-spent,” he said.
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda could not recall when he last witnessed such an exciting derby.
“We must thank the two teams for showing us what Malawi football is capable of. Those that say Malawi football is dead should have been here to see this,” he said.