Passers-by at house no NP 357 in Blantyreâ€™s Naperi Township were left to make their own conclusions as they went past Mighty Wanderers chief supporter Yona Green-Malungaâ€™s residence last Sunday afternoon.
There were leaves on the road outside the house. As with African tradition, most people thought there was a funeral at the house.
However, it turned out that the leaves were placed there by Big Bullets FC supporters who on one hand, were poking fun at the Nomadsâ€™ top fan while celebrating their teamâ€™s win.
Bullets had earlier in the day beaten the Nomads 2-0 in the quarter-final of Fellowship Association of Malawi Bonanza match.
It was Bulletsâ€™ first competitive win over their traditional rivals in well over four years and the game has revived the rivalry of the two giants as well as bringing the derby back to life.
“They mocked me from the stadium up to my house. Some Zingwangwa-based Bullets fans camped at my home for some minutes singing songs like Yona mwana wamasiye (Yona is an orphan) implying that Wanderers was dead.
“This used to happen way back in the 1990s when my late father was the supporters chairman. I guess Bullets have turned the corner and the excitement is back, a situation that is good for football,” said Malunga.
He added that the return of the two teamsâ€™ former stars from South Africa and Henry Kabichiâ€™s dramatic switch from Wanderers to Bullets have fuelled the excitement.
Kabichi joined Bullets from Wanderers in controversial circumstances that required FAMâ€™s arbitration to become the first star player to cross the floor since McDonald Yobe made a similar switch in 2001.
“Kabichiâ€™s first derby against us was in Lilongwe, so for these two games, Blantyre fans were eager to see how he will perform against his former club and he did it to perfection on Sunday, making the situation more tense.
“But this is good because we need such tensions to make the game exciting, our dominance made it very boring,” Malunga said.
In the recent past, the Blantyre derby was as good as dead. It lost its flare and pomp. Its rhythm eroded as it turned into a one-sided affair, with the blue side of the town dominating.
Since losing realistic sponsorship in 2004, Bullets were weakened as they lost a lot of players and failed to attract big name players. They could not match their rivals pound for pound, thereby turning the once mighty derby into just one of those ordinary contests.
But the Peopleâ€™s Team performance against Wanderers last month in a two-all draw showed signs of Bullets resurgence.
From the celebration mood, one could see that the derby was back to its best. Bullets fans brought traffic to a standstill in all directions from the Kamuzu Stadium as they danced all the way to their respective destinations.
“For the past seven years the derby was so predictable and no longer a talking point. The media even stopped giving it pomp as it lost its rhythm. But last Sundayâ€™s game took the fans down the memory lane.
“The verbal war from both camps added flavour to the derby. The stadium was almost filled to capacity. On the pitch the Bullets displayed good football and on the roads, fans celebrated wildly. A picture of how the derby used to be in the past,” said veteran soccer analyst Moses Dossi.