Be Forward Wanderers coach Elia Kananji made history by winning the Carlsberg Cup with two rival teams when he led Nomads to a 2-1 victory over Big Bullets at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday.
Last year, Kananji won the same cup with Bullets. What a magic for Kananji!
The game attracted a huge crowd, including Vice-President Saulosi Chilima.
Before kick off, the fans were treated to excellent displays from skydivers, who parachuted from thousands of feet to land perfectly on the pitch. Bullets conceded a penalty just 18 minutes into the match after Miracle Gabeya tripped Luka Milanzie in the box.
Victor Nyirenda scored from the spot, sending Owen Chaima the wrong way.
Bullets defence comprising Yamikani Fodya, Gabeya, Pilirani Zonda and Ian Chinyama was jittery most times and misplaced passes. This gave room to Wanderers forwards Milanzie and Nyirenda to roam freely.
Milanzie nearly made it 2-0 with 10 minutes before recess, but his shot was blocked by Fodya with Chaima beaten.
Bullets never gave up. They absorbed the pressure and recovered.
Fodya’s curving free-kick hit the upright in the 40th minute.
Just when referee Leo Ngoleka was about to blow the whistle, marking the end of the first-half, Jafalie Chande headed into the net a Fodya free-kick to make it 1-1.
The second-half saw both teams being aggressive. But it was the boys from Lali Lubani Road who took the lead again.
Kondwani Kumwenda made no mistake to power a Mike Kaziputa’s free-kick past Chaima to hand Wanderers the Carlsberg Cup.
Bullets had an opportunity to level after Diverson Mlozi was fouled in the box in injury time.
It was a genuine penalty but referee Ngoleka looked the other way. The decision to wave play-on triggered protest from Bullets players.
Police had to surround Ngoleka after the final whistle as fans bayed for his blood.
Kananji, while admitting it was a tough game, gave credit to his team for the good work.
“It was a contribution from everyone from the Wanderers family. We were united and our collective efforts won us the cup. The fans were wonderful too,” said Kananji in a post-match brief.
Bullets coach Lloyd Nkhwazi shunned the press, but team manager Rahim Ishmael blamed the referee for the loss.
“We have been ‘robbed’ of victory by the referee. That was a clear penalty,” said Ishmael.