The most anticipated TNM Super League football fixture in the capital city between rivals Silver Strikers and Civil Sporting Club is on at Silver Stadium this afternoon.
Both teams have been out of sorts of late but whenever it comes up, the capital city derby is not short of appeal as the battle for pride and supremacy comes into play.
The slump in form in both camps led the Civil Servants to give their coaching panel a three-game ultimatum while the Bankers on their part, instituted a commission of inquiry to look into the team’s poor showing.
Silver suspended assistant coach Lovemore Fazili and team manager Francis Songo. The Bankers, who are second on the log table, are hoping to cut Nyasa Big Bullets’ six point lead.
They have 43 points from 21 matches while Civil Sporting are fourth with 31 points from 22 matches. Silver have received a timely boost following the return from injury of four key players—Jack Chiona, Mike Roberts, Newman Mwamsamale and goalkeeper Brighton Munthali.
Chiona and Mwamsamale have the potential to cause havoc on a good day and aided by the combative promptings of revived Thuso Paipi, Khuda Muyaba and Mphatso Philiemon, the Bankers are not short of options in attack.
Despite being plastered with class, Silver have of late been inconsistent. Assistant coach Peter Mgangira understands the significance of winning today’s match.
“At this stage in the league, we need not drop points. If we are to sustain our title bid, it is crucial that we win this game. Apart from that, the derby comes with pride and we are aware of what is at stake,” he said.
However, the former Silver and Flames midfield maestro said there have been no special preparations for the showdown.
On the other hand, Civil Sporting go into this game without their captain and talisman Raphael Phiri and his striking partner Calvin Thotho who are nursing injuries.
Team manager Gabriel Chirwa admitted in a pre-match interview that the absence of the two is a huge setback.
“It is important to have all your best players in a big fixture like this as it gives the coach plenty of options. But we still have suitable replacements in the likes of Ranken Mwale, Chisomo Mbozanani and Christopher Kumwembe,” he said.
In other fixtures slated for this afternoon, Moyale Barracks host Karonga United at Mzuzu Stadium whereas Kamuzu Barracks face Mzuzu University (Mzuni) FC at Civo Stadium.