Red Lions hitman Royal Bokosi terrorised Nyasa Big Bullets with contemptuous ease yesterday when he scored a first-half hat-trick as the People’s Team survived a big scare to force a three-all draw.
In a TNM Super League contest marred by a heavy downpour that at one point flooded the artificial turf at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre, the Zomba-based Malawi Defence Force side appeared to be on track to spoil the People’s Team’s impressive seven-year unbeaten home record as they led 3-1 at some point courtesy of Bokosi’s goal-scoring instincts which whispered seductively of his likely delights to come.
Ironically, it was Lions who last inflicted a home defeat on Bullets in November 2013 with a 3-2 win.
However, the champions held to six years.
Said Mhango in an interview yesterday: “Of course, I would have loved to get the feel of the action, especially considering that we were up against my former team. But all is good.
“Just being part of the squad to end the trophy drought is enough to make me proud.
“It means a lot to me to win my first silverware with Pirates in only my second season.”
The 2019/20 Premier Soccer League golden boot winner also said winning the silverware means more than an individual award.
“As I said at the start of the season, it is important that I help the team win trophies other than bask in the glory of individual awards because at the end of the day, it counts to nothing.”
On his part, Celtic coach Maduka was quoted by SuperSport TV as having said he was pleased his side still ‘managed to compete’ even after going down to 10 men.
This was Maduka’s second cup final loss within three months, having also lost to Mamelodi Sundowns 1-0 in the Nedbank Cup.
Celtic had Ronald Pfumbizai sent off for giving away the penalty that was won and scored by Thembinkosi Lorch five minutes after half-time.
But even after going behind, Celtic pushed Pirates until the very end.
Maduka could not fault his charges for the effort they put in.
He said: “We started the game well. That’s why we managed to score. Then after scoring, we changed, we were not the same.
“We started pumping the ball forward, which is not our game. We are a team that wants to play football. We want to build up from the back and try go forward.
“And again, after losing the man, we got even better. You could see most of the time we had more possession on the ball. Of course, it was difficult to penetrate, but there were those couple of chances.
“It’s football. It’s one of those things. I think the boys gave their best.”