It was payback time and Big Bullets did it in spectacular fashion on Sunday by parading an awesome show of force when they crushed Silver Strikers 3-1 to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Presidential Cup.
Bullets took to the turf without the bulk of their key players. Inspirational captain Fischer â€˜Anongaâ€™ Kondowe,Â Fundi Akidu,Â Henry Kabichi,Â Chiku Kanyenda and Grant Lungu were all out injured. They were not the only ones.Â Blossoming midfielder Ian Chinyama and Lesley Tamutamu were also not available, but it did not really matter.
It was a sweet revenge for the Peopleâ€™s Team who suffered a 4-0 humiliation at the hands of the Bankers in their opening Super League match last month.
Here was a Bullets side worthy the name, a gallant side that took their fans down memory lane with a vintage display and it was not surprising that they turned the stadium into a theatre of celebration after the final whistle.
Silver, who qualified to the second round courtesy of a boardroom decision following the disqualification of non-league side Complex Madrid, were simply woeful.
Bullets new signing Samson Chondeâ€™s swashbuckling display on the left-wing was the centrepiece of their victory on a winter afternoon when they stood up to be counted. Sweeper George â€˜Luizâ€™ Nyirenda was also an epicentre of defiance at the back and stood rock solid.
But the toast of the day for Bullets was Gabadini Mhango who struck a brace.
In a game that was well handled by grade one referee Fransisco Scova, Bullets could have taken the lead 13 minutes into the game when they were awarded a penalty after Silverâ€™s captain Dave Moya had fouled Chonde. But to the disappointment of the Bullets faithful, stand-in captain Douglas â€˜Section 65â€™ Chiramboâ€™s spot kick was well kept out by â€˜keeper Alex Makina.
And in the 25th minute, Gabadini failed to provide the final flourish after Makina had fumbled Chimango Kairaâ€™s shot.
Gabadini made amends in the 39th minute when he headed the ball home from Chiramboâ€™s free kickâ€”it was all simple, nothing was forced, to send the Bullets fans into ecstasy.
Six minutes later, Diverson Mlozi added the second with a simple tap-in following a pass from Heston Munthali, it was as soft as the cheeks of a newborn baby.
In the second-half, Silverâ€”dubbed the local Manchester City because of their star-studded sideâ€”reorganised themselves, especially after the introduction of Peter â€˜Pidoâ€™ Pindani who replaced Moya.
They hit one back from a goal scramble. The ball appeared not to have crossed the line, but after consulting his assistant, referee Scova ruled that Blessings Temboâ€™s attempt had, actually, crossed the line.
As the game progressed, Silver were dealt a body blow when their defender Bernard Namangwiyo was shown the red card for elbowing Gabadini.
But as the Bankers fought for an equaliser, Gabadini sealed Bullets victory from a counter-attack in added time and it was all over for the Bankers.
Â Game over?
Yes, and the Bankers trooped off disconsolately, a well-beaten side as the Bullets danced jigs of celebration.
Silver assistant coach Hellings Mwakasungula expressed disappointment with the loss which was the fourth for his side.
â€œWe conceded silly goals and it is really disappointing,â€ said Mwakasungula.
Asked what the fourth straight loss meant, Mwakasungula took a long breath and said: â€œWe are going through a bad patch and I want to say sorry to management as well as our supporters.â€
On his part, Bullets mentor Eddingtone Ngâ€™onamo was all smiles, saying his team deserved to win by more goals.
â€œWe should have won by more goals had we been sharp in front of goal, all the same I am happy for the win and I want to hail the boys for their fighting spirit.â€