Nyasa Big Bullets yesterday foiled Silver Strikers’ plans to dent their status as TNM Super League champions and hosts at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre when they popped from behind to force a one-all draw.
Before yesterday’s match, Bullets had already grabbed the league title with two games to spare following a 3-0 thrashing of relegated Red Lions at Balaka Stadium, creating unassailable five-point gap against second-placed Be Forward Wanderers, who also settled for a 1-1 draw over hosts TN Stars at Kasungu Stadium.
Now Bullets are at the summit of the 16-team log table with 68 points and remain with a game to complete their season, Wanderers have finished on 63 points and third-placed Silver have wrapped up their fixtures on 57 points.
Yesterday, Ronald Pangani drew first blood for Silver in the 27th minute when his swinging cross from the right flank ended up into the net.
Bullets goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe failed to deal with the ball as it dropped into the top corner.
However, Chimwemwe Idana, restored parity for Bullets just a minute into the second half when he connected home a quick pass from man-of-the-match Mike Mkwate in the box.
This was the two sides’ second meeting in 10 days after the Bankers’ booted out the People’s Team from the Fisd Challenge Cup with 2-0 semi-final victory at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
Knowing the game was just a dead rubber, both sides mostly featured their fringe players, who had to prove the need to be considered as first-choice players next season.
Bullets had the luxury of resting the league’s leading scorer Chiukepo Msowoya (16 goals) on the sidelines as Chimwemwe Idana, Sydney Chabulika, Hassan Kajoke and Precious Phiri, who replaced Bashir Maunde in the second half, had a rare feel of the game. For Silver, they fielded the likes of Kondwani Mwaila, Zikani Kasambala and goalkeeper Steve Micheta.
“Today, we assessed most of our up-and-coming players; they proved to be good and will offer a big challenge to the experienced senior players next season,” said Bullets’ Zimbabwean coach Callisto Pasuwa after the match.
On his part, Silver coach Lovemore Fazili said they were impressed with the performance of their charges and yesterday’s match was a good rehearsal for the Fisd Cup final against Wanderers at BNS this Sunday.
During Wanderers versus TN Stars encounter Stain Dave scored for the hosts before Misheck Botomani forced a draw for the Nomads.