Silver Strikers will not allow the penalty inflicted by Sulom on them to overshadow their quest for a successive TNM Super League title as they face Kamuzu Barracks (KB) on Sunday at Civo Stadium.
Silver captain Lucky Malata said they are focused on beating Kamuzu Barracks and will not let anything distract them from the ultimatum prize.
“It is up to us to win or lose the cup. We will not let the punishment affect us psychologically and we are geared for Kamuzu Barracks,” said Malata on Thursday.
“The issue of the punishment will be handled by our executive committee while our task is to handle Kamuzu Barracks. We are winning this league,” he said.
The club has been fined K1.1 million (about $3 235) and a six-match home ban for a number of cases of misconduct during their recent league game against Epac FC at Silver Stadium.
So near, yet so far, that is how the Silver situation is at the moment. Winning against KB will mean the title is bagged. On the other hand, a loss or a draw gives a leeway to Big Bullets who are two points behind them.
It also means the title will be decided on the last day of the league when Silver face Mighty Wanderers, assuming Bullets win all their games against Epac and Red Lions.
Throughout the season, the club has been good on the pitch, but their supporters have been the main distraction. Silver talent, form and confidence are all unquestioned at this point, in all departments on the field. The draw against Epac last week was also due to wastefulness and not because they did not create chances.
But, with the duo of Rodrick Gonani and Harvey Mkacha in scintillating form, Silver will certainly approach tomorrow’s game with gravity, with the title race technically still alive.
Coach Franco Ndawa was cautious after the game against Epac last week: “It is good that we have earned a point today. A loss would not have been good. Now we should win against Kamuzu Barracks, then we will be safe,” said Ndawa.
KB have been buoyed up by their victory over Azam Tigers last week and they have self-belief to cause an upset tomorrow.
The soldiers, who are synonymous with a fast passing game, have been playing outstanding football this season, but lack of sharp strikers has cost them points.
“We are not giving this game away as some people are suggesting. We will play to win. We need to finish up on a good position too. This talk about donating points is just not true,” said KB coach Kenwood Nkhoma.
In contrast, while Silver are fighting for TNM honours, Blue Eagles, in their last match of the season, against Red Lions today, are fighting to finish sixth to earn qualification for the Standard Bank Trophy tournament.
After losing 1-0 to Civo on Wednesday, Blue Eagles’ remaining realistic chance to qualify for the tournament is to win today’s game.