Innocent Dzimbiri’s 83rd minute strike earned ‘new’ Mighty Wanderers coach Stuart Mbolembole a 1-1 draw with Big Bullets in this season’s first instalment of Blantyre derby at jam-packed Kamuzu Stadium today (Saturday).
So pregnant with emotions was this afternoon that if you were in Blantyre, it felt irrelevant to be elsewhere—even UDF president Atupele Muluzi witnessed the epic encounter from the VIP.
Blue and red beautifully decorated the theatre of local football dreams. Unfortunately, both sides appeared too cautious. Hence, the game never flowed. Crowded midfield, long balls and hurried play punctuated play from either side.
Nonetheless, after Dzimbiri’s mazy run that almost yielded dividends appeared to breathe life into the Nomads, the contrary happened as Bullets stepped up to the plate.
When Gabadinho Mhango had his effort ruled offside by steady referee Keston Mnenula, Wanderers failed to take heed of the warning.
The Nomads were to pay dearly two minutes later on the 40th minute when Mhango timed his run to perfection, sidestepping a thin line between him and the offside, to coolly connect the ball into the net.
Half time found the Nomads second best.
But pep talk breathed life into the Nomads who came back a rejuvenated side and started pinning the Bullets in their half.
Complacency appeared to be the Bullets biggest enemy when they failed to kill off the game even when presented with several scoring opportunities. Diverson Mlozi shot past diving goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa, but the ball bounced off the post. The Bullets striker could still not do justice to the rebound.
Impressive Dalitso Sailesi and Mhango followed with whistling long-range efforts for Bullets who, like their rivals, have four points.
Barely a week on the job, Mbolembole improved the Nomads midfield by throwing into action Alfred Manyozo Junior and debutant Tony Chitsulo who took the midfield by the scruff of its neck, resulting in Dzimbiri’s late equaliser.
Dzimbiri slammed in from a rebound after Bullets had failed to deal with a free-kick, much to the relief of Mbolembole, who replaced Felix Fosco last week.
“I feel proud to come here and get a point against Bullets in my first assignment,” Mbolembole said while his opposite number Eddington Ng’onamo blamed complacency for the result.
In other games, John CJ Banda’s fine run continued as he scored the lone strike that had Blue Eagles handing rookies Evirom their first 1-0 defeat. Other new comers Mponela too made it two straight losses in falling 1-0 to Azam Tigers.
Chimwemwe Nyakamera netted for the Kau Kau. Elsewhere, Chikamveka Gwetsani scored a brace in helping Moyale Barracks to a 3-1 beating of Civo United, thereby piling the pressure on coach Thom Mkolongo.