Big Bullets coach Eddingtone Ng’onamo and his right hand man Gerald Phiri have made fresh appeals to fans to stop perceiving them as Mighty Wanderers sympathisers.
Ahead of Sunday’s TNM Super League second round match against the Nomads at Kamuzu Stadium, Ng’onamo, also speaking on behalf of Phiri, said there was still talk among some fans connecting them to their bitter Blantyre rivals.
“We would thus like to brush aside such theories. Our focus is to work hard and beat Wanderers this Sunday. Doing this will be a big plus on our CV. We are professionals. Our allegiance is always on the current employer. In this case, Bullets,” said Ng’onamo.
Asked about the coaches’ plea, Bullets chief supporter Geoffrey Mbalati on Tuesday said Ng’onamo and Phiri are not the first coaches to have switched sides. Mbalati cited Rafael Benitez, who handled Liverpool in the English Premier League, but the Spaniard is now in charge of Chelsea. Phiri played for Wanderers whereas Ng’onamo once coached them.
“As supporters committee, we are fully behind the coaches. But the coaches can also do themselves a big favour and end these perceptions by beating Wanderers. Some do not understand how coaches work. I guess such theories come from the fact that since the two coaches took charge of Bullets, we have never beaten Wanderers in a competitive match,” said Mbalati.
Wanderers general secretary David Kanyenda predicted a 2-0 beating of the Bullets who only registered wins over the Nomads in the Fama Cup semi-final and Carlsberg Cup inaugural launch matches.
“We want to become the first team to win at the stadium after its reopening. Bullets had their chance last Sunday, but they were not up to scratch,” Kanyenda said.
“We want to package Bullets as a New Year present to nyerere (Nomads fans). We will beat them 2-0 and become the first team to win at the reopened Kamuzu Stadium,” he said.
He also taunted their rivals, saying they will continue with their role as ‘brides’.
“Our mission is to complete back-to-back wins having beaten them 2-1 in the first round,” said Kanyenda.
But Bullets counterpart Higger Mkandawire laughed off Kanyenda’s tough talk, describing it as cowardice.
“It is fear that is driving him to mumble all that. We are used to that. They always win their games in the papers, but on the pitch it is always different.
“Our eyes are set on reviving our chase for the league title,” said Mkandawire.
Bullets have since welcomed back James Chilapondwa at the end of his suspension. Chimango Kaira and Gabadinho Mhango have also returned from Flames assignment in South Africa.
“It is a full house for us. Defender Sankhani Mkandawire awaits a final assessment but he looks okay,” Ng’onamo said.
The two teams said the match will have a huge bearing in the chase for Carlsberg Malawi sponsorship.
Bullets are third on 39 points while Wanderers lie fifth on 35 points. Both are in league title contention.
It has since been announced that charges for open stands have been pegged at K500 (about $1.47).