The 2020/21 TNM Super League relaunch match failed to live up to expectation as defending champions and Blue Eagles fired blanks at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
After an eight-month break due to Covid-19, the after effects of the pandemic were visible on both sides’ players.
Bullets were the worst affected as the defending champions failed to sparkle as expected.
One thing that was evident was that Bullets missed the services of 2019 TNM Super League Player of the Season Peter Banda, who was attending his grandfather, former national netball team coach Griffin Saenda’s funeral.
The absence of injured captain, holding midfielder Chimango Kayira, also left a glaring gap in the midfield.
The defending champions were also dealt a further blow after striker Zicco Mkanda was replaced by Bright Munthali due to an injury.
Eagles on the other hand, were a much better side, especially in the first half, but they lacked a cutting edge upfront.
Captain Micium Mhone, Maxwell Salambula and John Malidadi Jnr caused Bullets defence of Sankhani Mkandawire, Miracle Gabeya and Nixon Nyasulu a lot of problems.
Bullets should thank goalkeeper Ernest Kakhobwe who did well to keep the Area 30 cops at bay in three one-on-one situations.
Going forward was also a big problem for Bullets as Mike Mkwate and Chimwemwe Idana found it hard to penetrate the Eagles defence.
In the second half, Eagles stepped off the pedal allowing Bullets to go forward.
However, Idana, Gomezgani Gondwe and Mkwate’s efforts were not utilised by forwards Hassan Kajoke and substitute Munthali.
At the end of the day, it was a game of two halves as Eagles dominated the first half while the hosts took over the second half.
No wonder Blue Eagles coach was satisfied by a point from the away match.
“Drawing against Bullets at their home is a good result. We created a lot of chances which if we had utilised we could have won. But a point is enough,” he said.
Bullets assistant coach Peter Mponda admitted that his side did not deserve maximum points.
But the coach refused to blame the loss on the absence of key players such as Chiukepo Msowoya, Banda and Kayira.
“We cannot blame it on the players that we missed. We used the players that were available. We simply did not play well,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mighty Tigers are leading the 16-team log-table following a 2-1 home victory over Kasungu-based TN Stars at Mpira Stadium in Blantyre. Martin Msewa and Tony Mbulu’s strikes were enough to put the game beyond the reach of Stars, who got their consolation through Trouble Banda.
They are tied on three points with Kamuzu Barracks (KB), who beat hosts Ekwendeni Hammers at Mzuzu Stadium, but they top the pack for scoring two goals against KB’s one. Zeliat Nkhoma scored KB’s priceless goal.
Results of other matches, Karonga United and Mafco settled for one-all draws against visitors Chitipa United and Red Lions. Karonga led through Balikinho Mwakanyongo’s strike before Emmanuel Muyila restored parity for Chitipa.
Mafco scored through Peter Kansonga and Stanley Duwe equalised for Lions.—additional reporting Solomom Manda.