Nyasa Big Bullets have brushed off suggestions that playing the Airtel Top 8 final at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre this Saturday gives them an advantage.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) competitions and communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka confirmed in an interview yesterday that Kamuzu Stadium will host the final of the tournament’s fourth edition.
Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said while they are happy to play at home, it does not mean they are in the comfort zone.
He said: “This is time for reckoning. What belongs to us must be for us.
“But we will not fool ourselves that we always do well at Kamuzu Stadium because it doesn’t always go according to script.
“This is a cup final and a lot is at stake for us.”
Chigoga also said there are no special preparations for the final.
“It is business as usual, but if the head coach thinks otherwise, we will be informed,” he said.
In the past couple of years, the People’s Team has only lost once at Kamuzu Stadium a to their age-old rivals Mighty Wanderers who beat them 1-0 in the second round of the TNM Super League which ended Bullets’ eight-year unbeaten run in the league at home.
On his part, Silver chief executive officer Thoko Chimbali said they are not losing sleep over the prospect of playing the final at Kamuzu Stadium.
He said: “We have not been officially informed, but we are okay with that. We are comfortable with the arrangement.
“Initially we heard that the sponsor [Airtel Malawi plc] had asked that the final be played in Blantyre considering that the past three finals have been played in Lilongwe.
“Usually our main concern is the pitch. So, taking us to Kamuzu Stadium, we have got no problems because the pitch is good.”
Chimbali also said there are no special preparations for the Central Bankers.
“We are treating it as any other normal game,” he said.
Silver are the defending champions and this will be their third Airtel Top 8 final appearance.
They won the inaugural tournament in 2017 after beating Mighty Wanderers 10-9 in post-match penalties. The Central Bankers won it again in 2019 after edging Karonga United 1-0.
Last year, the tournament was not held due to effects of Covid 19.
On the other hand, Bullets will be making their second final appearance having lost to Blue Eagles in 2018. The People’s Team did not take part in the 2019 edition in protest against a punishment imposed on them following ugly scenes that characterised the 2018 final.
Meanwhile, Zakazaka has said logistics for the final will be announced in due cource.
But preliminary reports indicate that FAM competitions subcommittee is planning to hike gate charges as a way to control the turnout.