There is something baffling about a bitter- sweet relationship between Azam Tigers and Be Forward Wanderers that leaves soccer fans wondering whether the two sides are friends or enemies.
Take, for example, Nomads team manager Steve Madeira, who spent years at Tigers as general secretary, yet his heart has always been with Wanderers. He, eventually, followed his heart in 2015.
Then, there is Tigers technical director Robin Alufandika, who also spent several years at Wanderers as team manager. He left the Nomads after overstaying his welcome and found a new home at the Kanjedza-based outfit.
The fact that Wanderers invade Tigers’ camp every season to poach players and get away with it, also makes the two sides’ relationship difficult to comprehend.
Mike Kaziputa, Kondwani Lufeyo, Kondwani Kumwenda, Nenani Juwaya, Isaac Kaliati, Stanley Sanudi are examples of how Azam Tigers have suffered from Nomads’ poaching. In the latest episode, the two sides clash this afternoon at Balaka Stadium in Airtel Top 8 quarter-finals first-leg, just after Wanderers coaxing Kaukau Boys’ midfielder Yamikani Chester.
This afternoon, as Chester faces his former club for the first time, he has confessed that it will be a tough encounter.
Said Chester: “What I can say is that I am grateful to Tigers for giving me the chance to play at Wanderers. I played with passion with them, but now I am at Wanderers, and I want to win for Wanderers. Come Sunday, [today] when I play against them, I will know who is my [current] team, who are my colleagues and who I defend.”
Though bitter with Chester’s departure, Tigers have moved on, according to coach Patrick Kulemeka.
“We have several players that are capable of fitting in Chester’s boots. I know Wanderers think they have an easy assignment, but we are not going to be a walkover. We will surprise them. We equally want to win this cup. K15 million is a lot of money,” he said.
Kulemeka, who has just replaced Gerald Phiri at the beginning of this season, has seasoned campaigners such as Luke Chima, Willy Saenda, Chikumbutso Henderson, Precious Phiri, Dan Kumwenda, Peter Cholopi and goalkeeper William Thole.
Nixon Mwase , Martin Chongwe and Alex Mkorongo have also settled down well, after joining Tigers last season.
The Nomads, on the other hand, have been boosted by the return from injury of Peter Wadabwa, Jabulani Linje, Francis Mlimbika and Khumbo Ng’ambi.
But Precious Msos a , Precious Sambani, Amos Bello and Ishmael Thindwa remain sidelined. Captain Mlimbika said they will continue from where they stopped, when they beat Super League defending champions Kamuzu Barracks in the season’s opener last Saturday.