The 2018 TNM Super League first round winds up this weekend with Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers eyeing the top slot which goes with a K1 million reward.
Bullets are at the summit of the 16-team flagship league with 32 points from 14 games, just a point above the second-placed Bankers.
The People’s Team host Blue Eagles at Mulanje Park this afternoon while Silver travel to Mangochi to face Red Lions.
Apart from the half way first place finish, Bullets are also hoping to conclude the first round unbeaten.
They will also be out to avenge the 0-1 defeat they suffered at the hands of the Area 30 based cops in the finals of the Airtel Top 8 recently.
Bullets coach Rogers Yasin said they are anticipating a tough contest.
“It is an important match for us because we are concluding the first round and we would want to finish on top as that will be a motivating factor going into the second and final round.
“A Eagles wa anatichita chipongwe [Eagles embarrassed us] in the Airtel Top 8 finals and we will be out to avenge that defeat.
“Obviously they are buoyed by that win and will be hoping to repeat victory, but they are coming at our backyard and we are prepared for them,” he said.
However, Bullets will be without defenders Miracle Gabeya, Bashir Maunde and Emmanuel Zoya who are nursing injuries.
Yasin also said they are aware that Silver are anxiously waiting in the wings and that any slip could see them being dislodged at the top.
“So, a draw would have been an option but we do not have such luxury because if Eagles hold us and Silver win then we will finish on second position which could be painful.
“As such, we need to win the game at all cost,” he said.
Eagles assistant coach Christopher Sibale yesterday said they are prepared for Bullets just like any other game.
Put to him that Bullets are eyeing revenge and will, therefore, come with their guns blazing, Sibale said: “If they are prepared then good for them, we are not moved. As I said, to us it is just like any other game.”
Eagles lie fifth with 20 points from 13 games. They will wind up the first round tomorrow against table anchors in Nchalo United in Chikwawa.
In form Bright ‘Bweke’ Munthali, Chiukepo Msowoya and ‘super sub’ Patrick Phiri are Bullets’ trumpcards while Maxwell Salambula, captain Micium Mhone and John Malidadi Jnr will carry Eagles’ hopes.
Last season, Eagles won the first round 1-0 at home but were thumped 3-0 in the return fixture in Blantyre.
In the Lions versus Silver encounter, the Bankers will be hoping to bag full points and pray that Eagles will stop the People’s Team in its tracks.
Said Silver team manager Francis Songo: “We will fight to win and then see what happens in the end. But if Bullets falter and we win then it could be a bonus for us.”
Tenth-placed Lions coach Sterio Gondwe said they want to improve on their standings.
“We know it will not be easy because Silver will approach the game with the top slot in mind, but we are playing at home and, hopefully that should give us an advantage,” said the Lions mentor whose side has 17 points going into their last first round fixture.