Nyasa Big Bullets were yesterday officially crowned 2020-21 TNM Super League champions in style after coming from behind to beat Karonga United 3-2 in their last match of the season at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
The Crocodiles of Karonga almost spoiled the party for Bullets, who were confirmed champions with a game to play, after the visitors took a 2-0 lead in the first-half through a Josiah Duwa freekick in the 16th minute before Mphatso Kamanga doubled the lead in the 29th minute.
But Bullets came back from recess a changed side and quickly pulled one back through Hassan Kajoke in the 53rd minute.
Substitute Lanjesi Nkhoma levelled five minutes later.
Kajoke then completed a brace in added on time from the spot kick after a foul on Nkhoma.
At the end of the match, witnessed by Super League of Malawi president Tiya Somba Banda and Football Association of Malawi president Walter Nyamilandu, satisfaction was the prevailing emotion among Bullets diehards who missed their team due to government’s Covid-19 precautionary measures that barred supporters from watching matches until recently when the restrictions were softened up.
To give their supporters a befitting gift at the close of the season, the People’s Team just had to end it in style, beating the unpredictable Karonga-based side, who stunned them 1-0 in the first round.
The champions finish the season with 62 points.
Despite defending the title for the third consecutive time, Bullets coach Callisto Pasuwa described the season as hectic since the team had to deal with players’ injuries, fatigue after participating at Cecafa Kagame Cup in Tanzania and Covid-19 positive cases.
The Zimbabwean tactician said: “It was a very hectic season where at one point we had several players injured while others tested positive for Covid-19.”
His captain, Chimwemwe Idana, said it was tough for the players as well.
The midfielder, who was outstanding throughout the season, thanked his teammates for withstanding the pressure.
Bullets chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said winning the championship under such circumstances proved that they deserved the title.
He said: “It was a tough season as other teams were also gunning for the league championship. Covid-19 also had its effects as our supporters were denied an
opportunity to watch their team and this had adverse financial impact on many teams. It has been a team work and today is time to celebrate our hard work.”
The champions’ crowning marked the end of an eight-month marathon in which the title pendulum swung between Bullets and Silver Strikers.
The Bankers were favourites for a good part of the season until the last quarter of the journey when Bullets displaced them at the top of the table.
Even at that point, the battle for the championship seemed destined to go to the wire until Silver’s loss to Moyale Barracks in their last but one match.
That loss meant the Bankers were out of the race, leaving the battle for the title between Bullets and third-paced Mighty Wanderers who had never seriously challenged for the title throughout the season.
No wonder, the Nomads did not mount a significant competition to Bullets and lost 3-1 to Blue Eagles as the Malawi Police Service outfit survived relegation by the skin of their teeth.
Wanderers’ loss came at a time when victory could have led to the battle for title being decided on the last day of the season since they could have amassed 60 points and on top of the table with Bullets on second with 59 points.
But the Nomads, who yesterday held Moyale Barracks 0-0 at Mpira Stadium in their last match, finish third on the table with 55 points, three below second-placed Silver.