Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers say their supporters should not expect a trophy from this afternoon’s international bonanza at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre as their priority is to assess players ahead of the new season.
During their training session at the Kamuzu Stadium yesterday, Bullets coach Calisto Pasuwa and Wanderers team manager Steve Madeira said they would like to take advantage of the three-day Nyasa Big Bullets Challenge, which also includes Zimbabwe’s Chicken Inn FC and Mozambican side Ferroviaro De Nampula, to assess their players’ fitness levels and technical abilities.
“We hope people will understand that the main purpose of this bonanza is to prepare for the 2019 season. Therefore, winning the competition will be a mere bonus,” Pasuwa said.
He said if they wanted to win the trophy, they would have assembled a strong squad, including the seven players that are on national duty with the Malawi Under-23 in Belgium, namely Rabson Chiyenda, Mike Mkwate, Patrick Phiri, Gomezgani Chirwa, Chimwemwe Idana, Hassan Kajoke and Precious Sambani.
“Much as the supporters would want us to win the trophy, I, as a coach, have a vision of what I want to see in preparing the team for the 2019 season,” he said.
Madeira also said Wanderers well prepared for the bonanza, but local football lovers should not read too much into the outcome of their participation.
“We have several players that have joined the team that gives us opportunity to assess them and see the coordination,” he said.
Madeira said they have players that have joined the Lali Lubani Road outfit such as Adepoju Babatunde from Masters Security FC alongside promoted players from the Nomads reserve side Wisdom Mpinganjira and Chikondi Kamanga, who impressed during training and need further assessment in a game situation.
“But bearing in mind that this is a preparatory game, results do not matter at all; what we look for is coordination and see if the players adapt to training sessions,” he said.
However, Bullets supporters’ director Stone Mwamadi and Wanderers main supporters’ committee secretary Samuel Mponda said the technical panel should also do their best to win the trophy.
Chicken Inn head coach Joey Antipas, whose side participated in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Champions League and finished third in the Zimbabwe elite league, said they would use the bonanza to prepare for the forthcoming season starting on March 31.
“We will have our first competitive games ahead of the new season kick off through the bonanza and we have eight new players we need to assess.
“Winning will be a bonus,” he said.
This afternoon, Wanderers face Chicken Inn at 12:30pm and Bullets take on Ferroviaro at 3pm.