Silver Strikers’ quest to end a five-year TNM Super League title drought faces a stern test this weekend when they invade the Southern Region to play Mighty Tigers and leaders Be Forward Wanderers.
The struggling Central Bankers need to overcome Tigers at Mulanje Stadium this afternoon and the Nomads at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre tomorrow to have a realistic chance of satisfying the wishes of their sponsors Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM), who challenged them to relive their 2013/14 top-flight league glory.
They are fifth on the 16-team log-table with 29 points from 17 games, 10 points behind Wanderers. Tigers are 10th with 20 points from 19 games.
Silver assistant coach Abbas Makawa, whose side is coming from a 1-0 loss to relegation-threatenedDwangwa United and has won only two of their last five matches, yesterday admitted they have tough assignments this weekend.
In the first round, Silver settled for a one-all draw against Tigers and their last win came in the first round of the 2018 season when they secured 1-0 victory.
Against Wanderers, the Lilongwe-based side has not registered a win in their last seven league meetings since 2015. The Central Bankers last beat the Nomads 1-0 in the second round of the 2015 season.
Makawa said it will also be a daunting task to earn six points in their two away matches with three of their key players KhudaMuyaba, Duncan Nyoni and ThusoPaipi doubtful starters. Muyaba and Nyoni are down with malaria while Paipi is nursing a hip injury.
“These will probably be our toughest assignments this season. However, we are doing our best to be in our most excellent form this weekend. The boys know the tasks that are ahead of us and we are ready for the challenge,” he said.
In spite of that, Makawa said they will find relief in the fact that they know better the tactics and players that both Tigers and Wanderers deploy.
Tigers coach Gerald Phiri said they have left no stone unturned to end their five-game winless run in the top-flight league although they have six players on the injury list, namely Christopher Mikuwa, Mateus Nyirenda, Petros Mwale, ChasimbiweKanyuka, Edwin Carlos and Osman Balala.
Wanderers assistant coach Oscar Kaunda said they cannot afford to lose to Silver at home as they aim to keep a tight grip on the league leadership, where they are five points clear of second-placed Blue Eagles.
He said with all their players available for selection, they foresee an excellent performance although the Central Bankers will not be an easy nut to crack.
“We know Silver are not a small side; they are still serious title contenders. This is why we are determined to eliminate them from the race and create for ourselves a smooth path to ultimate glory,” Kaunda said.
Lanky Nigerian forward BabatundeAdepoju, who is the league’s leading scorer, is expected to lead the Nomads’ attack aided by the likes of Fransisco Madinga and Felix Zulu.
In other fixtures this afternoon, SavendaChitipa United will host defending champions Nyasa Big Bullets at Karonga Stadium while MlathoMponela will be up against Moyale Barracks at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe. Dwangwa will be at home against Ntopwa at Chitowe as Masters Security will be playing hosts to Kamuzu Barracks at Dedza Stadium.