Be Forward Wanderers are seeking to reach this season’s second cup final, but as they step onto the pitch this afternoon, they will surely be haunted by a dark history of a five-year winless run against Blue Eagles in Lilongwe.
The two sides meet at Civo Stadium in what promises to be a titanic battle for the remaining slot in this year’s Standard BankKnockout Cup final.
The winner will meet Civo United who booked their place after coming from behind to sink Big Bullets 2-1 at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre on Thursday.
Wanderers and Eagles have met four times at Nankhaka Stadium in the capital city in the past five years and the nomads have lost on three occasions. The best result during this period was a one-all draw early this year.
The last time Wanderers beat the cops in Lilongwe was in 2010 when they escaped with a 0-1 victory.
Reacting to the curse that follows them when they face Eagles in Lilongwe, Wanderers coach Elia Kananji said the Lali
Lubani Road played second fiddle to the cops before he took over.
“It’s not me who was incharge when Wanderers were losing to Eagles. I have played them once and it ended in a draw. So I am definitely not part of that history,” he said.
However, the coach,who has already guided the nomads to Carlsberg Cup glory in his debut season, sounded optimistic that his troops can turn around the fortunes.
He admitted though that his troops will have to work to the last atom of their strength if they are to emerge victorious.
“We are expecting a tough match,” he said in his usual tone of measured slowness.
“Otherwise, they will hurt us beyond belief. We just pray that God will be on our side.”
Kananji also disclosed that Jabulani Linje has been passed medically fit and has travelled to Lilongwe.
The midfielder was among four key nomads players who have been out for the past two months. The others are midfielder Rafiq Mussa,
forward Ishmael Thindwa and defender Bongani Kaipa.
“Linje has passed the medical and is part of the squad that I have picked.
The others are still not fit,” he said.
Meanwhile, Blue Eagles assistant coach Wilson Chidati said the Standard Bank Knockout Cup is their last hope in hell having missed out on the Carlsberg Cup and on the Super League with Bullets seemingly running away with the title.
“We can’t afford to miss this one because that will mean ending a season without a trophy,” he said.
Chidati said they will be banking their hopes on their captain John Banda and striker Schumacher Kuwali who, on Sunday,
helped Flames to a 1-0 victory over Tanzania in a 2018 World Cup qualifier.
Banda scored the winner. “We started training with them on Tuesday and they are fired up.
They want to take their national team rich form to the club,” he said.
Wanderers beat Red Lions 1-0 to reach the Standard Bank Cup semi-finals while Eagles triumphed over Silver
Strikers by the same margin.