Four teams are now guaranteed quarter-final slots in the ThumbsUp Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) League Premier Division following results of six encounters last weekend.
The four teams are Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves from Group A, Blantyre City FC and The Boyz from Group C and MDF Marine who have qualified as Group D leaders with insurmountable points.
Bullets Reserve beat Bangwe All Stars 2-1 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Saturday to top their group on better goal difference after tying on 15 points with Wizards. Reserves will finish either top or second on the table even if they lose their last match while Wizards will progress if they win their remaining match or if third-placed Neno Giants stutter in their last three games.
The People’s Team reserve side’s coach Enos Chatama, whose side scored through Chifundo Ngapemba and Patrick Mwaungulu before All Stars got a consolation through Amos Tesiwa, said they are relieved to get into the quarter-finals.
“We always want to be on top of whatever we do and it feels good to have reached this critical stage of the competition,” he said.
Fourth-positioned Bangwe All Stars and anchors Polytechnic are out of contention as their maximum points is eight apiece.
City and the Boys have taken all slots for Group C because with 14 and 13 points respectively, they cannot be matched by other teams in their group.
In Group D, MDF Marine, who confined Nyasa United to 3-0 whitewash on Sunday, have sailed through as they have 18 points. Second-placed Chinamwali Stars and third-positioned Fomo FC will battle for the other slot of the group as they conclude the group fixtures this weekend.
Stars, who thrashed White Eagles 3-1 on Sunday, have 12 points while Fomo have 10 points. Nyasa and White Eagles have been eliminated as they have seven and six points, respectively, with a group match to play each.
Group B is open to leaders Sable Farming, second-placed Mangochi United and third-placed Changalume Barracks. Sable and Mangochi are tied on 13 points while Changalume have 12 points. They need wins in their last games to make it into the last-eight stage. Wanderers Reserves and Zomba Airbase are out of the race as they are stuck on five points and two points in that order.
Sable could have made the grade on Sunday had they not settled for a goalless draw against Airbase.
Sable coach Chancy Nsema said: “It was unfortunate that we drew against bottom-placed Airbase. However, it is good that we are still in contention for the quarter-final slot.”
City chairperson Francis Nachamba said they are happy that their dream of earning TNM Super League promotion is slowly but surely getting closer to being realised.