Eleven years is too long a time to wait, but this Saturday afternoon Mighty Be Forward Wanderers could finally end their wandering in search of a TNM Super League title if they beat struggling Masters Security at Balaka Stadium.
In 2007 it was a story of so near, yet too far as the Nomads failed to defend the title which they won in 2006 under Zimbabwean coach Rahman Gumbo after a seven-year wait.
Only central defender Foster Namwela was around when Wanderers last won the league.
The Nomads, who top the 16-team league with 65 points, need just three points from their last two matches to pip their age-old rivals and second-placed Nyasa Big Bullets for the title.
Even Wanderers most loyal son—captain Joseph Kamwendo—who was then in Denmark with Nordsjælland, has never won the Super League and said he would savour the moment.
He said: “I have played for many teams in my career. I have been to Europe and back. I have played in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
“In all these countries I have won league titles but never with my beloved club Wanderers despite playing for them for over 10 years. Finally, time has come for me to win the Super League for Wanderers. I can’t describe how I feel now.”
But the Nomads should expect a resilient opponent as Masters are also fighting their own battles.
Perched on position 13 with 28 points from 27 games, Masters need to win their remaining matches against Wanderers, Bullets and Kamuzu Barracks if they are to survive in the top-flight league.
PremierBet Wizards, who are on position 14 and play Chitipa United Saturday afternoon and Moyale Barracks tomorrow, can beat relegation if they win both games and Masters drop points.
Besides, the past weeks have been hell for Masters coach Abbas Makawa as his charges have failed to collect maximum points in three matches having last won against Wizards 4-1.
But Makawa has promised to win the remaining matches starting Saturday afternoon.
“To us this is a very crucial game. Of course, we are going into the match as underdogs and they [Wanderers] want to win the league title. But we are equally fighting relegation and a win is a must.”
Interestingly, both teams are Malawi’s representatives in Confederations of African Football (CAF) competitions.
The Nomads have been drawn against DRC giants AS Vita in Champions League whereas Masters Security have been paired against Atlético Petróleos de Luanda of Angola in Confederation Cup.
Sulom general secretary Williams Banda urged football fans to come in large numbers to watch the two sides.
“It’s a battle of CAF teams. Fans should come and see what we should expect when the two sides represent us in these continental competitions.”
He, however, called on the supporters to refrain from violence and hooliganism.
TNM sponsorship manager Limbani Nsapato said the trophy will be on display at the potential league decider.
“We have also lined up acrobatics to spice up the match,” he said.
As the Nomads will be hosting Masters, Bullets will be taking on Dwangwa United.
The People’s Team are hoping that they can win both their remaining games and that the Nomads can slip up. n