Be Forward Wanderers are within touching distance to win the Luso Television Bus Ipite Bonanza as they take a three-goal lead into the second leg next Monday at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.
A bewitchingly creative display by ‘sniper’ Jaffalie Chande was the centrepiece of the Wanderers’ 3-0 victory over their age-old rivals Nyasa Big Bullets yesterday as the Kamuzu Stadium danced to the Nomads’ tune of intent to win the K25 million-worth 26-seater Nissan Caravan bus.
Experienced midfielder Joseph Kamwendo strike and substitute Chande’s brace ensured that the Carlsberg Cup and the Fisd Challenge Cup champions should head to the capital city with a spring in their step.
And nobody could blame Nomads supporters for the ‘Bus tatenga, kwatsala ndege’ chants after the final whistle..
When their talisman Peter Wadabwa was pulled out in the 10th minute after suffering a hamstring injury, distress was the prevalent emotion among Wanderers fans, but his replacement, Chande, restored their tattered hope with a header in the 20th minute.
Creative midfield-maestro Kamwendo curled in a dangerous left-footed corner-kick and Chande perfectly timed his run to flick the ball past Bullets goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe and into the net.
Kamwendo made it 2-0 at the stroke of half time when he kept his nerve to chest down Amos Bello’s pass just outside the box and struck into the far corner; leaving Kakhobwe motionless between the sticks. The first-half ended 2-0.
Wanderers overlapping defender Stanley Sanudi nearly made it 3-0 in the 63rd minute had his attempt not bounced off the post. He received a through ball from Isaac ‘Tcheya’ Kaliati and let off a thunderbolt that could have easily penetrated into the top corner of the net.
TNM Super League champions Bullets had their best chance 15 minutes to time, but enterprising midfielder Kondwani ‘Scholes’ Kumwenda blew it over the cross-bar. He made a double-footed attempt in the penalty area but the ball went contrary to his intention.
Five minutes before the final whistle, Chande seemed to have hammered the last nail on Bullets’ coffin when he beat advancing goalkeeper Kakhobwe before making a simple finish. However, the referee ruled it out for offside.
Zakazaka, who substituted Kaliati in extra-time, buried the game with a wonderful free-kick which was headed home by Chande.
“Hard work pays and we have been rewarded. Beating a big team like Bullets with such a big margin is quite satisfying. We will now prepare for the final game next Monday,” said Wanderers’ team manager Steve Madeira.
His Bullets counterpart Rahim Ishmail had this to say: “We did not expect such a terrible loss. Nevertheless, we will go back to the drawing board to rectify the problem. If Wanderers managed to score three goals in this game, we can as well achieve such a feat in the final leg.” n