Leaders Be Forward Wanderers face a stern test as they face fellow TNM Super League title contenders Silver Strikers this afternoon in a potentially explosive encounter at Silver Stadium before yet another trying encounter against Blue Eagles tomorrow at Nankhaka in Lilongwe.
A win for the Nomads would not only widen their points advantage to eight, but also boost their chances of ending their 10-year league title drought while a loss would narrow the gap for the Bankers while maintaining their unbeaten run.
Currently, the high-flying Nomads are at the summit of the 16-team log-table with 44 points from 18 games while Silver are second with 39 points from 19 matches.
The two giants played out a barren draw in their first round meeting.
However, although the Nomads have registered three-straight wins since the start of the second round, the odds are stuck against them as the Bankers have home ground advantage.
The Nomads also have fond memories of how they lost to Silver in Airtel Top 8 final on post-match penalties.
“This will be our toughest assignment in the league so far because, being at home, the Bankers would be determined not to soil their unbeaten record,” admitted Wanderers team manager Steve Madeira.
“But we also have a score to settle; after losing the Airtel Top 8 and the Carlsberg Cup finals this season, winning the league title will be our biggest relief and such a feat would be achievable if we beat big title contenders such as Silver.”
He added that although they would miss the services of their three key players striker Jabulani Linje, midfielder Felix Zulu and defender Stanley Sanudi, who have travelled with the Flames to Tanzania for an international friendly, they have a deep squad for the imminent showdown.
According to Madeira, veterans Esau Kanyenda, Joseph Kamwendo and Peter Wadabwa alongside the likes of Isaac Kaliati, Alfred Manyozo Jnr and Francis Mlimbika, have to come to the party.
On his part, Silver team manager Francis Songo said although they have contributed goalkeeper Brighton Munthali and midfielder Levison Maganizo to the national team, they are ready to defeat Wanderers.
He said: “Wanderers need to be stopped now if we are to have a realistic chance of winning the league and we have left no stone unturned on this tough but possible mission.”
With one of the league’s leading scorers Mathews Sibale and other prolific players such as Green Harawa, Binwell Katinji and Victor Limbani available, the Bankers’ claim might hold water.
Wanderers are also expected to have another tough assignment against Eagles, who are fourth on the table with 32 points from 19 games.
In other Super League fixtures this afternoon, third-placed Nyasa Big Bullets will be up against strugglers Blantyre United while Red Lions and Dwangwa United will host Civil Sporting Club and Chitipa United respectively.
PremierBet Wizards will entertain Mzuni FC at Mulanje Park. n