TNM Super League defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers clash at Kamuzu Stadium this afternoon in a potentially electrifying Blantyre derby that has so much at stake.
Wanderers hope to gain full points and displace Kamuzu Barracks at the summit of the 16-team to keep their title dreams alive while Bullets eye victory to move up to fourth.
Currently, Wanderers lie second on the table with 26 points from 11 games following their eight wins, two draws and a loss. A win will help them displace leaders KB, who are a point ahead and have played a game more.
Bullets are fifth on the table with 22 points from 12 games; six wins, four draws and two losses.
A win would see them displace Blue Eagles, who are a point better from the same number of games.
However, history shows that it is Wanderers that are desperate for a win as they have not beaten Bullets in the league in the last seven years since a 2-1 triumph in the first round of the 2012 season.
During that time, The People’s Team have won seven times while the other six games ended in a stalemate.
In their last 25 league meetings dating back to 2007, Bullets have won 10 while the Nomads have six victories. The other nine matches ended in draws.
Bullets coach Callisto Pasuwa said he knows only a win will make the club’s supporters happy, but he has ruled out the possibility of an easy ride over the Nomads this afternoon.
The Zimbabwean said their preparations have been under difficult circumstances as six of his charges—four defenders and two midfielders—are not available for selection due to injuries.
Captain John Lanjesi, Miracle Gabeya, Yamikani Fodya, Bashir Maunde, McFarlen Ngwira and Dalitso Sailesi are all nursing injuries.
“However, we prepared well with the rest of the players, who are fit enough to be included in our final squad for duty this Saturday, and they know what it is to play in a derby,” Pasuwa said.
Wanderers head coach Bob Mpinganjira believes his team is better placed to win the derby and all their players are ready for the challenge.
“We understand that this will be a very difficult game and we are still strategising on how to approach it. But all in all, we are ready for battle because we are determined to get to the summit of the log table and end Bullets’ dominance,” he said.
The winner of this derby will not be decided on which team has a good defense but rather the one having the best attacking line.
Bullets’ attack has the likes of up-and-coming winger Peter Banda, central midfielder Mike Mkwate and forward Hassan Kajoke.
The Nomads, on the other hand, boast of in form left winger Francisco Madinga, Nigerian striker Babatunde Adepoju, attacking midfielder Francis Mkonda and right winger Isaac Kaliyati.
And the derby has come at the right time when both teams are in good form, which means the match is surely going to be a close one.
A small mistake could lead to a difference in the match.