It’s swim or sink.
Unlike the quarter-finals that were played over two legs, the Airtel Top 8 semi-finalists will have no luxury for a second chance as it will be do-or-die.
The semis, slated for this afternoon and tomorrow in Lilongwe, are also expected to be both fiery and passionate as the losing semi-finalists will get nothing.
Be Forward Wanderers who delight in their proud tradition of being winners of inaugural tournaments get a real test of their pedigree this afternoon at Bingu National Stadium when they engage Moyale Barracks to determine the first finalist of the showpiece.
Although the Nomads appear to be within touching distance to keep up with their tradition, they could be stopped in their tracks by the revived and remoulded Malawi Defence Force (MDF) outfit which has displayed verve and vigour of late.
Their coach Charles Kamanga appears to have turned the ingredients of his troops into an appetising dish.
Last season, Moyale sent the Nomads packing from the Presidential Cup with a 1-0 win and the Lali Lubani Road outfit will be out to avenge that defeat, but Kamanga has warned them not to expect a stroll in the park.
Both their TNM Super League contests last season ended in draws. To qualif y for the semis, Moyale beat their ‘brothers-in-arms’ Mafco FC 6-2 on aggregate (2-0 away and 4-2 at home) and this should give the Nomads plenty of food for thought in the countdown to this afternoon’s showdown.
The Nomads qualified after ousting Azam Tigers 3-1 on aggregate (2-0 at home and 1-1 away). Kamanga on Thursday warned the Nomads not to expect an easy game.
“Our stumbling block was Mafco and having seen them off, we do not expect hurdles going forward.
“ We respec t Wanderers, they are a good side, but we are not losing sleep with the prospect of meeting them. When God has planned something, he accomplishes it.
“We expect a tough and exciting game though,” said the upbeat Moyale mentor.
His Nomads counterpart Yasin ‘Titch’ Osman sounded cautious though, saying: “We are ready just like we have been for any other match. Moyale have improved a lot this season and we have a lot of respect for them.
“And if you look at head-to-head, they had an edge over us last season. So, I would say the odds appear to be swinging in their way.”
Peter Wadabwa is a defining symbol of the ultimate forward that searing pace, that close control, that grace as he suddenly burst into full pace and, oh boy, those super goals.
But while the Nomads faithful are celebrating his return from injury, Osman stressed that he is not guaranteed a place in the starting line-up.
“Well, he has been training but he has to beat competition barrier to be considered,” he said. The Nomad s will also be welcoming back lanky forward Ishmael Thindwa and their new-found sniper Julius Kajembe from injuries.
Kajembe is tipped to mesh potently with revitalised Jabulani Linje upfront and Joseph ‘Shakira’ Kamwendo alongside Alfred Manyozo Jnr at the hub of their supply lines.
On the other hand, the army outfit will bank their hopes on their man-of-the-moment Khuda Muyaba who is the tournament’s joint leading scorer.
He also scored the lone goal that sent the Nomads packing from the Presidential Cup.
The other potential match winners for Moyale could be Boy-Boy Chima and Dan Katunga.
The winner of this afternoon’s clash will face either Kamuzu Barracks or Silver Strikers who meet tomorrow at Civo Stadium in the capital city in the other semi-final.