Escom United and Big Bullets’ encounter at Kamuzu Stadium this afternoon will be an extraordinary TNM Super League second-round clash between the two sides.
Normally, such fixture in the past six seasons has been a case of Escom wanting points to strengthen their title campaign while Bullets fighting to be in the top Eight.
But for a change, it is the Bullets, third on the log table, who are looking for points to maintain pace with Silver and Blantyre United in the run-up to the championship.
Escom, for the first time, are desperate for the three points in their quest to maintain their Super League status which is under threat.
They are in the relegation zone–––second from bottom–––and need to win four of their remaining six games if they are to survive.
Despite appointing veteran coach Alex Masanjala a few weeks ago to save the situation, results have not been coming for Escom.
They are coming from two consecutive losses to Epac [2-1] and Azam Tigers just last Tuesday who hammered them 4-0.
On the other hand, thePeople’s Team are flying high as they are coming from two important results; earning a crucial point in a one-all draw with Silver last week and a morale boosting 3-0 win over rivals Might Wanderers FC two weeks ago.
Masanjala said during the week that today’s game is very important to their survival quest.
“We need to stay as much positive as possible and that can only happen if the morale is high in the camp. Winning such games raises the morale of the players.
“It is possible to get all the points in the remaining games and we are working hard towards getting that attitude that we can do it,” said Masanjala.
Escom are rocked by off-field problems that may derail their fight to remain in the flagship league. The players are yet to be paid their Carlsberg Cup runners-up bonuses and some of the players have been boycotting training.
On the other hand, Bullets are upbeat to collect every point that comes their way to increase their chances of winning the championship.
They can reach 58 points from their current 43 if they win all their games. And if Silver loses three games out of their remaining seven, then Bullets can claim their first Super League title in seven years.
“Escom are struggling, but that is not a reason for us to undermine them. They are a big team and can surprise us if we take them casually. This is the time to give all our efforts and get every point because we have a big chance of winning the league,” said BB coach Eddington Ng’onamo.
International striker Chiukepo Msowoya will lead the attack for Escom and he has of late been banging vital goals and could be on song again this afternoon.
The experience of Noel Mkandawire, Bernard Harawa, Spencer Chipantha, Kondwani Gawani and Jacob Ngwira will be vital in determining Escom’s fate today.
Bullets also welcome back match-maker Divason Mlozi, whose services were dearly missed in last week’s game against Silver.
Gabadinho Mhango may be the hero for Bullets for scoring vital goals, but he has scored almost all of them from Mlozi’s creation.
If Mlozi plays to his best, Gabadinho scores and he has struggled to score in games without Mlozi.
In Mzuzu, Silver Strikers take on relegated Kabwafu in a must-win game for the defending champions.