Big Bullets set about their Presidential Cup defence campaign this afternoon with a potentially tricky first-round knockout fixture against Griffin Young Stars at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Bullets assistant coach Gerald Phiri Snr and their midfield workhorse James ‘Terminator’ Chilapondwa on Saturday played down suggestions that they are favourites to come out victors.
Phiri said they do not have the luxury to underrate their opponents.
“The fact that they won both the FMB Southern Youth League Championship and the Presidential National Youth Cup, speaks a lot about their potential.
“And we have advised our players not to underrate them because they could surprise us,” said Phiri.
On his part, Chilapondwa said: “The tricky part is that we have no idea how they play, but obviously, it is going to be a tough match considering their achievements at youth level.”
Bullets will be welcoming back their wonderkid Gabadinho Mhango who missed last weekend’s Super League game against Evirom as he was serving a two-yellow card suspension.
Captain Fischer ‘Anong’a’ Kondowe has also recovered from a knee injury and is available for selection.
The Young Stars coach and director Griffin Saenda Jnr said while they respect Bullets, his boys are not in a cold sweat.
The youthful coach, who guided his side to the tournament’s national youth cup glory with a 3-1 win over Mighty Wanderers Youth recently, hinted that with an ounce of luck, they could give domestic football its Cinderella tale of the year with a stunning result.
“Bullets are a big side and we respect them, but we are ready to fight our lungs out up to the very end.
“We are aware of our underdog status, but we are not bothered by that. We will go into the match and give out our best, as for the outcome, only God knows,” said Saenda.
He also said four of his key players— Peter Msowoya, Martin Mapanda, Rafiq Juma and Trevor Kalema—are injured and they are expected to undergo a late fitness test this morning in the countdown to the encounter.
Apparently, Msowoya was the joint leading scorer alongside team-mate Precious Masingati in the national youth phase of the competition.
Their other key player is midfielder Chifuniro Gondwa.
In other first-round fixtures slated for this Sunday afternoon, Azam Tigers host Balaka Socials at Kalulu in Nchalo, Epac take on Chipolopolo United at Silver Stadium whereas Silver Strikers take on Banyamulenge at Nankhaka.