Defending campions Nyasa Big Bullets and Blue Eagles have a chance to return to the summit of the TNM Super League when they clash this afternoon.
After being reduced to sideshows due to national team engagements and tripartite elections for three weeks, the two outfits return to action at Nankhaka ground hoping to shake off sluggishness that comes with inactivity.
With 10 points from four matches, a win this afternoon could see the fifth-placed People’s Team return to the pinnacle of the 16-team league, dislodging Mighty Tigers FC who have 12 points from nine matches.
Similarly, the Area 30-based cops, who are fourth with 11 points, could also scale to the top of the table if they hand Bullets their first league defeat of the season.
However, both teams will be hoping that Kamuzu Barracks, who are second with 11 points from five matches, will slip up in their contest against rookies Ntopwa FC at Kamuzu Stadium this afternoon.
Bullets team manager James Chilapondwa said there is a concern that rust could take its toll on their players, but it will not be an excuse.
He said: “The solace is that our opponents have also been in a similar situation. So, we wouldn’t want to use it as excuse.
“All the same, it will be a tricky match, but we are ready.”
On his part, Eagles assistant coach Wilson Chidati also bemoaned the three-week idleness, saying it could affect their rhythm.
“But the key factor will be the approach. We will have to try to close them down so that they shouldn’t dominate possession.
“Otherwise, we anticipate an exciting match and we are ready,” he said.
The People’s Team has depth in the likes of Peter Banda, Hassan Kajoke, Patrick Phiri, Righteous Banda, Chimwemwe Idana, Precious Sambani and Charles Petro, who will be aided by battle-hardened forward Chiukepo Msowoya.
On the other hand, Eagles boast of individual talent in captain Mecium Mhone, Gregory Nachipo, Schumacher Kuwali and Maxwell Salambula.
Last season, Bullets completed a double over Eagles in the Super League with 1-0 wins, but the cops their losses with a similar scoreline in the finals of the Airtel Top 8 via Evance Mbunge’s spot-kick.