Thousands of soccer-starved Blantyre-based football fans are expected to flock to Kamuzu Stadium this afternoon to witness the re-opening of the venue after almost two years since the country’s Soccer Mecca closed its gates for renovations.
No other fixture than the crunch tie between defending champions Mighty Be Forward Wanderers and stubborn Azam Tigers befits the occasion.
The Nomads have vowed to put the icing on the cake with a victory over stubborn Tigers to avenge their first-round loss.
Following the closure of the stadium, the Nomads sought refuge at Balaka Stadium while their rivals Nyasa Big Bullets opted for Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo and later Mulanje Park.
The Nomads team manager Stevie Madeira said it feels good to be the first to play at the Soccer Mecca after the long closure.
“It’s a relief that at last we will be playing at our traditional home. This will allow our supporters, who for the past two years or so were not able to watch their beloved team. I urge them to come in large numbers and cheer their team,” he said.
However, Madeira was cautious on their opponents Tigers who handed the Nomads their first loss in the 2018 TNM Super League this season when they were hammered 2-0 at Mulanje Park.
Wanderers, lie third, seven points adrift of leaders Nyasa Big Bullets.
The Nomads have 31 points from 16 matches and a win would mean overtaking second placed Silver Striker who have 32 points and will not play until Sunday when they face Blue Eagles at Nankhaka ground.
To be blatantly fair, Tigers is not a team that has let Wanderers bully them.
In their past nine duels, Nomads have won three times; four ended in a draw and lost two.
But Madeira admitted that his side has not been ruthless enough upfront, an area where he said coach Bob Mpinganjira is spending much of his energies.
“We have been creating a lot of chances but we have not been sharp enough upfront. We just hope that we will perform better against Tigers—attacking-wise,” he said.
Tigers beat Silver Strikers in their second round opener and their technical director Robin Alufandika believe they can beat any team.
“We are targeting to claim a season double over Wanderers. We have the momentum to achieve that having beaten Silver last week,” he said.
Tigers have 23 points from 16 games and sit on position six.
At Mzuzu Stadium, leaders Bullets will be targeting a win over Mzuzu University (Mzuni) FC before facing Moyale Barracks tomorrow.
The People’s team manager James Chilapondwa anticipates a tough match against the students who are currently in relegation battle.
“The fact that they are in relegation fight makes them even more dangerous,” he said.
In other matches, Dwangwa United face TN Stars while Karonga United
host Nchalo at Karonga Stadium.