The power of the Japanese yen made a huge difference for expensively assembled Be Forward Wanderers who found their way past complicated Epac with a 3-1 win yesterday at Kamuzu Stadium.
The blue side of Blantyre had trooped to the stadium with much expectation in this 2015 TNM Super League opening contest for the 10-man Nomads, who have spent a fortune on players.
And the Wanderers fed those expectations with portions of quality football and goals through strikers Muhamad Sulumba’s double and the other from Luka Milanzi. It was Milanzi’s first league goal since seeking refuge at the Lali Lubani Road last season from TP Mazembe in DR Congo.
With that win, the Nomads—parading six new recruits Stanley Sanudi, Jimmy Zakazaka, Isaac Kaliyati, Malumbo Gondwe, Rafik Mussa and the scorer-in-chief Sulumba—were off to a flying start in the new season. Never have the Nomads started a season so promisingly.
Not that Epac, under new coach Leo Mpulula who was up against his Blantyre United coaching student Elia Kananji now managing Wanderers, were pushovers.
It is only that Wanderers had too much quality in playing personnel they were even able to add the third goal after winger Mike Kaziputa’s second-half dismissal for a second bookable offence.
And both goals for the on-loan Blantyre United striker Sulumba were headers. Wanderers were 2-1 up by half-time.
First, Kaliyati started repaying his K4 million transfer fee from Azam Tigers when he floated the ball at the far post for Sulumba to head in after some 16 minutes.
Epac responded through Dalitso Mwase’ bullet, but was denied by acrobatic flying punch of Wanderers’ goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa.
However, there was no stopping Kelvin Nthetho from grabbing an equaliser in bizarre circumstances as what he thought was a cross ended up being flapped into the net at the near post by Chipuwa.
It was too cheap a goal to score for Nthentho to celebrate. After the goal, Milanzi restored Wanderers lead; chest-controlling Zakazaka’s pass, turn and drill past Epac goalkeeper Francis Nkanda.
Just like was the case with Chipuwa, Nkanda’s goalkeeping was so messy for a top flight goalkeeper to concede. Mpulula did not mince words.
“We gifted them two soft goals. We are still missing the cutting edge. We had two clear chances, but we lacked the cutting edge. This was not a game we were supposed to lose,” Mpulula said whereas Kananji attributed the win to their being first on the ball.
One such evidence of being first on the ball was evident in the second-half when captain Francis Mlimbika’s powerfully crossed the ball into crowded Epac box for Sulumba to glance in his second.
Earlier, Gerald Nkungula had sent his diving header wide whereas on the other end, Zakazaka’s direct free-kick attempt danced off the upright.
Still Epac pressed for a second goal, but when Chipuwa stopped Clement Mvula’s attempt substitute Wanderers’ Ted Sumani cleared off the line a goal-bound weak Epac shot.
With that Wanderers had three points in the bag. In other games, Azam Tigers lost 1-0 to Mafco whereas Moyale beat Kamuzu Barracks by a similar margin yesterday.