Eight teams will this afternoon battle for K20 million (about $67 000) Carlsberg Cup semi-final berths in matches that are expected to shred the nerves of the fans.
With all the big gunsâ€”Big Bullets, Mighty Wanderers, Silver Strikers, Civo United and Moyaleâ€”out of contention, the focus switches to the minnows as the battle for the K7 million (about $24 000) ultimate prize intensifies.
However, both the sponsors Carlsberg Malawi and organisers of the tournament FAM have said the development will not in any way affect the excitement of the showpiece.
Said Carlsberg senior brands manager (alcoholics) Twikale Chirwa said: â€œThe exit of the so called big teams will not affect the excitement. Fans should look forward to mouth-watering games and it calls for a Carlsberg!â€
The pick of the day is between Azam Tigers and Escom United at Kalulu Stadium. The other potentially explosive contest is between Blue Eagles and Red Lions at Nankhaka.
Tigers ever optimistic coach Leo Mpulula set on the mind games on Friday saying they are treating it just like any other fixture.
â€œThere is nothing special. Preparations have been normal.
â€œWe are not moved at all. The good thing is that since I took over the reins at Tigers, Escom have never beaten us but that is not to say we are underrating them.
â€œThis is a different game and it will be tough considering that Escom have beefed up their squad with a number of experienced players but we are living no stone unturned in our preparations,â€ said Mpulula.
The Kau-Kau boys will be buoyed by their 2-1 TNM Super league win over the Electricians in the first round.
They will be without Asedi Ajasi who is serving a red card but they have enough arsenal in strikers Willie Saenda and Moses Nankumba.
Escom technical director Reuben Mwangonde also said they are looking forward to the game with a degree of confidence.
â€œWe are set for the showdown and all the players are in high spirits. Having struggled in league games, our eyes are set on the Carlsberg Cup,â€ said Mwangonde.
Co-coach players Chiukepo Msowoya, Jacob Ngwira and Kondwani Gawani carry the expectations for Escom owing to their experience.
Interestingly, a lower-league side is assured of semi-final berth as SRFL Premier Division side Evirom will host LDFL outfit Blue Eagles Youth at Zomba Community Centre ground in another match expected to be fiery and passionate while Kabwafu will take on Epac at Mzuzu Stadium.