Silver Strikers and Be Forward Wanderers will clash in 2019 Airtel Top 8 quarter-finals in a repeat of the 2017 final in which the Bankers won 10-9 on post-match penalties.
Speaking after the draw held yesterday at Mpira Village in Blantyre, the two sides, who also clashed in Fisd Challenge final in December last year, have, however, downplayed the fixture, saying they were prepared to face any team.
Reacting to the draw, Silver vice-general secretary Innocent Kadammanja said the Nomads were not a threat.
“We are not losing sleep over it,” he said.
Wanderers team manager Steve Madeira said although they are expecting a tough opponent in the quarter-finals, Silver were not scaring them.
“It will be a tough encounter. Silver will be looking for revenge. Memories of the Fisd Challenge final are still fresh. That one still pains them a lot. But we are also ready. The Airtel Top 8 is the only silverware missing in our cabinet,” he said.
The draw also revived the rivalry between Mzuzu University FC (Mzuni) and Civil Sporting club, who of late, have not been seeing eye to eye with each other.
The Civil Servants date Mzuni at a time the Northern Region giants are facing a crisis, following the institution’s directive that only students should be featured in the team.
Another exciting fixture is between rookies TN Stars and Karonga United, who will both be playing their inaugural Airtel Top 8 edition.
Fireworks are also expected in the quarter-finals between Kamuzu Barracks and sensational Masters Security.
Airtel marketing director Frank Magombo promised another exciting edition of the competition as it enters season three dubbed More Goals.
He said: “As Airtel we are very excited for season three of Airtel Top 8 and theme for season three is ‘more goals’. We are expecting the best teams in Airtel Top 8 to battle it out so as to come out victors at the end of the game. For our fans and customers we are just expecting more excitement and more fun.
“Off the pitch for the fans that are watching the game. We will be going to different places where these games will be played. We will give out Airtel merchandise. At the same time we will also run a promotion in which the fans can predict the match results to win different prizes.
The mobile service provider also unveiled Raaquib Lulu Milanzi as this year’s face of Airtel Top 8.
“This is very exciting. If you remember from season two, we put up a challenge that we are looking for the face of Airtel Top 8 season three. Finally, we have got a winner. Raaquib Lulu Milanzi, who is 32 years-old. He is such a talented player who has emerged as the winner of face of Airtel Top 8 season three. He got 777 votes via social media on our Facebook and Twitter handles,” said Magombo.
This year’s edition will see TNM Super League champions Nyasa Big Bullets missing the party following a ban FAM meted out to the 2018 runners-up following violence that erupted after the final against Blue Eagles at Bingu National Stadium.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) general secretary Alfred Gunda warned that this year they will also not tolerate violence.
“Our message is very clear. Football is a game of enjoyment. One of the things that football, the world over, is against is issues of violence and we would like to indicate that as FAM, we will make sure that all our games are violence-free. Rules and regulations that govern the game of football will always be reinforced on any perpetrator of violence,” he said. n