For 80 minutes Be Forward Wanderers supporters were on edge at Kamuzu Stadium as Blue Eagles threatened to throw spanners into the Nomads’ dream of a reaching the Fisd Challenge Cup final.
When defender Bongani Kaipa finally rose above the flat-footed Eagles defence and glanced in a Mike Kaziputa corner kick, the cathartic effect was profound on the bluedraped supporters.
All along, Eagles had done well to frustrate Nomads advances toward the goal area to the extent that no shot on target was registered for Wanderers. The Nomads star striker Peter Wadabwa was put under arrest by the Malawi Police Service side’s defence of Steve Chagoma, Gio Banda, Osward Maonga and Ackim Kazombo.
Despite deft midfielder Joseph Kamwendo’s heroics in the central midfield, Eagles had an answer in workaholic Phillip Masiye who had a grand game.
Eagles, mainly operating from counterattacks, had a couple of opportunities, but thanks to an alert Nomads defence of Kaipa, Stanley Sanudi, Ted Sumani and Foster Namwela, they failed to get a goal.
They had two golden opportunities just before half-time when Masiye with a powerful header forced Vales Kamzere to make a reflex save and from the resulting cornerkick, Masiye’s header was cleared off the line by Alfred Manyozo Junior.
Though dominating possession, the Nomads lost steam in the opening minutes of the second-half and let Eagles take over the control of the match. However, two substitutions earned the Nomads the precious goal.
The coming in of Felix Zulu for misplaced Jimmy Zakazaka and striker Amos Bello for Jabulani Linje, proved the turning point. Bello forced Eagles defence to commit blunders that would eventually lead to the corner kick in the 79th minute.
Kaziputa’s in swing eluded Eagles goalkeeper John Soko and his defenders who were preoccupied with strikers Bello and Wadabwa, were caught off-guard as Kaipa buried it in the roof of the net.
Nomads team manager Steve Madeira hailed the Nomads relentless fighting spirit in the face of a resilient opponent.
For Eagles coach DeKlerk Msakakuona, the failure to convert the scoring opportunities broke his heart. The Nomads will know their opponent in the final after today’s semi-final clash between Silver Strikers and Kamuzu Barracks at Silver Stadium.