With their backs to the TNM Super League relegation wall, Escom United today, at Kalulu Stadium, battle for their lives against a Blantyre United, eyeing championship luxury.
Last week’s 3-1 beating by Moyale Barracks was not only compounded by Chiukepo Msowoya’s injury for the second from the bottom Escom. It also translated into an eighth loss of the season in 18 games of three wins and draws.
Dropped from the Flames squad in South Africa after the injury, Escom technical director Reuben Mwangondwe hoped during the week for Chiukepo’s availability for today’s match.
“We need to collect points now. I have hope we will survive. I am confident we will beat Blantyre United having trained harder from Monday instead of starting on Tuesday,” said Mwangonde. Escom have 16 points.
For Blantyre United (formerly Escom Reserves), the motivation for meeting their former seniors is the championship title they sniff at the top on 39 points, one ahead of Big Bullets and third-placed holders Silver Strikers (37 points).
Most at pressure are Blantyre United who cannot afford a draw, let alone, a defeat, lest they be dislodged at the helm by either Bullets or Silver who face Mafco and Blue Eagles respectively tomorrow.
Bullets coach Eddington Ng’onamo admitted on Thursday that there is more to do in the absence of James Chilapondwa, Gabadinho Mhango and Chimango Kaira.
Chilapondwa is on suspension whereas Mhango and Kaira are on Flames duty in South Africa today.
In Lilongwe, soaring Blue Eagles, who have carried their Carlsberg Cup winning form to the league, meet their test in Silver.
Harvey Nkacha handed the Bankers a first-round 1-0 win over the cops, but they have now improved greatly evidenced by their climb to fifth position last weekend following wins over Epac FC and Kamuzu Barracks.
In Mzuzu, Temwa Msuku has not tasted defeat in two matches since slipping in the Moyale Barracks coach’s jacket left by Nicholas Mhango. But in today’s match against wounded Mighty Wanderers, Msuku knows the complexion of his impressive start could change.