Big Bullets FC would have won the TNM Super League championship last season had they collected maximum points in their game against Blantyre United.
But a draw against the side in Nchalo saw them finishing with the same points with reigning champions Silver Strikers who were helped by a superior aggregate to lift the title.
During the Blantyre United match, the result did not come as a surprise as Bullets had to come from behind to force a one-one draw. This is the team they have never beaten in league action since Blantyre United were promoted four seasons ago.
Bullets coach Eddington Ng’onamo, however, said time has now come for them to break Blantyre United’s resistance as the two teams meet this afternoon at Kamuzu Stadium.
He said he has analysed United’s style and will get the first win today.
“I must confess to you that the team that has given me headache since I joined Bullets in 2011 is Blantyre United.
“But now it is time to crush them. This is an important match because it is our first game in the new season. The match will have a huge impact on the team’s confidence if we win,” said Ng’onamo.
Bullets have had a good run in the pre-season, winning the GOtv Cup and the Orange Partners Tournament after beating Silver Strikers in the finals on both occasions.
That is a strong sign that the People’s Team mean business to win the league title that has eluded them since 2005.
But United coach Eliah Kananji said his team is not ready to surrender the first three points
“Last season, we started badly when we lost four of our opening games. We do not want a repeat of that. We need to start on a high note and that does not come better than beating Bullets.
“The boys are in shape and ready to conquer,” he said.
United start the campaign without their star striker Brown ‘Fisimatama’ Mizeye who moved to Bullets in the pre-season, but his transfer is yet to materialise as the player now wants to return.
But both teams have all their last season’s arsenal on the ready.
The Bullets squad that enjoyed great success last year is also intact.
Star Striker Gabadinho Mhango, who scored 26 goals in all competitions last season, has sent a strong message that he will burst more nets after coming from the bench to score a goal in last week’s Orange Partners Challenge.
He is expected to start today and will be the man to watch.
In Lilongwe, Silver Strikers begin their title defence with a derby fixture against city rivals Civo.
Coach Franco Ndawa said they are prepared to collect three points and warned people against reading too much into their poor showing in the pre-season games.
“This is the real deal now. We were trying new combinations and now we are getting down to business. We respect Civo and we will see them on the pitch,” he said.
Quite unusual for the Bankers, they have not been busy on the market and will rely on their title-winning squad.