It might have taken a decade but on Saturdayâ€”under a bright sunshineâ€”Big Bullets finally cast the ghost that has seen them fail to win a major cup when they beat a strong willed Moyale Barracks 1-0 to lift the K60 million (about $400 000) Presidential Cup at Civo Stadium in the capital, Lilongwe.
An estimated privileged 20 000 witnessed one of the greatest-ever domestic finals in recent times as Gabadinho Mhango once again stood up to be counted by scoring the priceless goal that earned his team the ultimate K10 million (about $40 000) prize money barely three minutes into the game.
And there could have been no better person to present the cup to captain Fischer â€˜Anongâ€™a Kondowe during this hugely significant moment than the first gentlemanâ€”retired Chief Justice Richard Bandaâ€”himself a former Bullets talisman, boy! oh boy!
Spontaneous parties erupted across the countryâ€™s bars and open-air joints as jubilant Bullets fans celebrated their teamâ€™s hugely significant triumph.
The last time the Peopleâ€™s Team won a cup was in 2002, when, inspired by their former captain and driving force Peter â€˜Mjojoâ€™ Mponda, they came from behind to beat MDC United in a penalty shoot-out to win the Embassy Trophy.
To add extra spice to an already hot mixture, it was also a sweet revenge for Bullets, who lost to Moyale the last time they reached the finals of a national showpieceâ€”the Standard Bank Cupâ€”in 2008. It really couldnâ€™t have been sweeter!
Fans heeded calls by both Bullets players and management to come in their numbers to root for their favourite side.
The fans did not disappoint either by turning a packed Civo into a sea of dominantly red and white with a strong crowd being first hand witnesses to this thrilling encounter.
There were tears of joy and relief for the Bullets and tears of despair for Moyale.
So it is Bullets who join the only two other local outfits who have lifted this lucrative silverware their bitter rivals Mighty Wanderers and Civo United.
The soldiers appeared to be coping perfectly well against Bullets until the boy wonder that is Gabadinho ghosted in to break their hearts with just three minutes into the game.
It was an afternoon when Moyaleâ€™s luck finally run out. The afternoon when their adventure came to a heart-breaking cruel end.
The slender scoreline was an accurate reflection of an affair that ebbed and flowed and served up scares until the final frantic moments
Coach Eddington Ngâ€™onamo felt like flying after the final whistle and hailed the fighting spirit of his charges.
â€œI am the happiest man in the world today and I salute the boys for playing to instructions.
â€œI wonâ€™t say much today because it is time for celebrations after years of misery. That we won this cup was because of the indomitable spirit shown by the supporters, management and above all, the players,â€ he said.
Moyaleâ€™s general secretary Major Chilambe blamed his teamâ€™s loss on bad luck.
â€œI think it wasnâ€™t just our day. Otherwise we dominated the better part of the proceedings,â€ Chilambe said.