The K60 million (about $150 000) Presidential Cup rolls into life this afternoon with the kickoff of the national phase in all the three regions.
The pick of the day is the potentially explosive contest between Mighty Wanderers’ Nyerere and Blantyre United’s Mphembezu and the setting is none other than the ceremonial home of domestic football Kamuzu Stadium.
What makes it unique is that it is the only fixture pitting Super League sides.
The Nomads might be the only team to have won the cup twice since its inception, and also the first team to win the showpiece in 2009, but they are aware of the uphill task they face as they have always turned into chocolate fireguards whenever they face United.
However, their outspoken general secretary David Kanyenda on Friday set on mind games by declaring that Mphembezu will be stopped in their tracks this afternoon.
“Blantyre United might have enjoyed a good run against us in the recent past, but tomorrow [Saturday] it will be time to separate men from boys.
“They are just a small team that has never won a cup, to the contrary, to our credit we have won countless silverware. This cup belongs to us and today we’ll take the first step in our quest to take the trophy back to where it belongs—Lali Lubani Road,” said Kanyenda.
Bold words indeed, but apparently football is won on the pitch and it remains to be seen whether the Nomads will break Mphembezu’s resistance today afternoon.
On the other hand, although it has always been plain sailing for United against the Nomads, their coach Elia Kananji was a model of modesty saying it will be a tough game.
“It is a tricky fixture coming at this stage, but nonetheless we are set for the showdown. We’ll give out our best shot,” said Kananji.
The Nomads will look up to their new catch Omega Mhone, revitalised Benard ‘Benzo’ Harawa, Jacob Ngwira, Bongani Kaipa, Alfred Manyozo Jnr, Nafe Msasa, Victor Mpinganira, Cuthbert Sinetre, Tony Chitsulo and Anthony Banda.
Banda was the hero for the Nomads when they last won the cup in 2011. He snatched a priceless late winner against Mafco.
On the other hand, United will bank their hopes in playmaker Victor Limbani, Sparrow Msowoya and Tizgo Kumwenda.
Last year both teams were booted out in the first round. The Nomads were shown the exit door by Bvumbwe Research who had just earned promotion into the top-flight league whereas United were given the boot by Karonga Vendors.
In other games slated for this afternoon, Red Lions will take on Liwonde United in Machinga, Mpatso host Blue Eagles in Mponela, Civo United face Hard Knockers at Civo Stadium.