In a striking coincidence, TNM Super League title chasers and age-old rivals—Be Forward Wanderers and Nyasa Big Bullets—scored at almost the same time yesterday against Azam Tigers and Mzuzu University (Mzuni) FC to bag full points and keep the race open.
The Nomads edged Tigers 1-0 at Chilomoni Stadium in Blantyre while the People’s Team also pipped Mzuni by the same margin at Mzuzu Stadium. Incredibly, both goals came in the 88th minute.
Table-toppers Wanderers now have 58 points from 25 games while the People’s Team are still four points behind from the same number of games and will be hoping that the Nomads should falter in at least two of their three remaining games and that they win all their games.
The Nomads drove their fans through a gut of emotions by creating a plethora of chances in the closing stages, but failing to make them count.
But to their credit, even when it was clear that time was no longer friendly to their cause, the Nomads fans stayed rooted to their seats believing that something would happen.
It was as if they were bound by fate that they would win this game.
Then it came. Jaffalie Chande, who had been thrown in as a second-half substitute, created space down the left and delivered a fabulous curler into the path of Isaac ‘Tcheya’ Kaliati whose control, swivel and shot were all faultless.
He clipped the ball, with the deftest of touches, to give it flight, and just enough power, for it to nestle into the right corner past helpless Tigers goalmider Maxwell Dzowa, leaving him sprawling on the ground for the only goal to send Nyerere into delirium.
The Nomads dominated possession but it was the Kau-Kau Boys who created close chances and twice had their efforts cleared on the goalline.
Wanderers coach Yasin Osman was a clearly relieved man after the match which he described as tough.
“It was a tight match and the muddy conditions did not help matters. We dominated the game but Tigers had the better chances. I commend my players for not giving up,” he said.
Tigers’ technical director Robin Alufandika attributed the defeat to loss of concentration in the dying minutes.
At Mzuzu Stadium, as the fans held their breath in final frantic moments, Nelson Kangunje grabbed the winner for Bullets after Mzuni goalkeeper Harvey Msowoya had fumbled his brother Chiukepo’s shot.
Earlier on the first half, Chiukepo could not believe his eyes when his spot-kick was saved by the Mzuni ‘keeper.
At Silver Stadium in Lilongwe, third-placed Silver Strikers also piled the pressure on the top two when they thumped table-anchors Chitipa United 3-0. Green Harawa, Duncan Nyoni and Mark Fodya were on target for the Bankers. Silver have 50 points from 27 matches. n