Nyasa Big Bullets are set for this afternoon’s Cecafa Kagame Inter-Club Cup semi-final against Azam FC despite the organisers changing the venue from Benjamin Mkapa Stadium to Azam Sports Complex, the home of their opponents.
Bullets assistant coach Peter Mponda, who is in charge of the team in the absence of head coach Callisto Pasuwa, said the change could be construed as an attempt to give Azam FC an advantage, but this does not faze them.
He said: “I believe it is going to be a very difficult game. It will be a tough game not necessarily because of the opposition we are playing, but because we are guests and they will do everything possible to stop us.
“The change of the venue will give Azam an advantage as they will be comfortable at their home which has an artificial turf.”
However, Mponda said they are not trying to find an excuse in the event that things do not go their way.
“We are not here to make excuses. Our home Kamuzu Stadium also has an artificial turf and we are used to playing on that surface,” he said.
To make it to the semi-finals, Bullets finished as Group A runners-up after a one-all draws against Young Africans (Tanzania) and Express FC (Uganda) and a 2-0 win over Atlabara of South Sudan.
“With the way we have been playing these games here, I believe we have a chance of making it to the final.
“But as we always say, we can plan, we can do everything, but sometimes it’s small mistakes that can cost us. We have been talking to the players to minimise mistakes,” said Mponda.
Bullets are using the tournament to prepare for the CAF Champions League and Mponda said, so far, so good.
“We believe we have had a good run in the group stages. We played three games, drew two and won once, not bad at all. We didn’t concede too many goals. Only two.
“Yes, they were give away goals. At this level of competition we don’t have room to make mistakes.”
Soccer analyst Felix Ngamanya Sapao cautioned Bullets to expect a tough opposition in the semi-finals.
He said: “Anything can happen. Bullets can beat Azam FC. But they need to know that Azam FC have been using their new signings and youth players for the tournament so far.
“Their first team players returned from holidays at the weekend and I know coach George Lwandamina will feature his main team.”
Azam FC humbled 2019 champions KCCA FC 2-0 in their opening match, edged Burundi’s Le Messager Ngozi (Burundi) 1-0 in the second game before losing to KMKM in the final group match.
Azam FC captain and goalkeeper Benedict Florence Haule told Cafonline that they are determined to pick a good result in front of their fans.
“We know the team from Malawi is good and we shall face them with a lot of caution,” he was quoted as having said..
Ugandan giants KCCA and Express FC clashed in the other semi-final yesterday.