Be Forward Wanderers are counting on fatigue to take its toll on their rivals Big Bullets in the second round of the TNM Super League so that their remarkable run can be brought to a halt.
Bullets had a remarkable first round, finishing at the top and unbeaten with 32 points—six clear of second-placed Azam Tigers and third-placed Mighty Wanderers who are tied on 26 points, but are separated by goal aggregate.
Nomads general secretary Mike Butao was reacting to his team’s performance in the first round and their expectations going into the final round.
“The season is only halfway done. We expect a more competitive second round in which we will aim to topple the leaders.
“Bullets may falter due to fatigue because they have had no off season, but nobody can guarantee this. We also expect a stiffer challenge from Silver Strikers and Tigers,” said Butao, who also hailed Bullets for coming tops in the first round.
The Nomads GS also admitted that the first round did not go according to their expectations, saying: “With due respect, finishing below Tigers considering the number of key players they lost and the investment we put in, was unacceptable.
“We hope this has been a learning process and we will come back better and hungrier in the second round. Our congratulations to Bullets for coming tops and Tigers for regrouping well after a poor start.”
Bullets vice-general secretary Kelvin Moyo agreed with Butao on the aspect of fatigue, but was quick to say they will make it up by signing two or three players.
“We have some players who did not take part in the CAF Champions League campaign such as Chiukepo Msowoya, Eneya Banda and Owen Chaima who are still fresh and if we can rope in two or three more, we should be okay,” he said.
Moyo also expressed satisfaction with their first round performance, saying: “Finishing the first round at the top and unbeaten was a rare feat, but I believe we should have done better.
“Our participation in the CAF tournament coupled with unity and good team spirit contributed to our good run and I would like to thank the players, supporters and executive committee for maintaining unity.”
He also said they will not sit on their laurels, but build on their first-round performance.
Tigers coach Gerald Phiri Snr said despite a poor start, his charges gave out something extra to finish the round at the top.
“The target was to finish in the top four which we managed, but we fell short of reaching the 30-point goal. Nevertheless, I have to hail my players for trying their best. We are looking at beefing up the squad with a few players so that we seriously compete for championship,” he said.
Silver Strikers who are struggling to regain the form that saw them register three successive league wins, admitted that their first round performance was pathetic.
Club acting general secretary Fred Kalonga said: “We are not winning and worse still, we are not playing well. We have established that while we have some good players, we do not have quality in depth and that is why we want to invade the market during the break.”
Silver are eighth with 20 points having won six, lost six and drawn two.
Fisd Wizards technical director Peter Mponda said they are hoping to start the second round on a good note after a poor start.
“The first round was a learning experience for us and we will come back stronger in the second round after beefing up the squad,” said Mponda, whose team anchor the table with seven points from 12 games.
They will wind up the first round this weekend when they face Civo United and Kamuzu Barracks in Lilongwe.