Leaders Be Forward Wanderers and second-placed Silver Strikers are not the fiercest foes, but their rivalry could reach fever-pitch this afternoon when they clash at Bingu National Stadium in a battle that will determine the winner of the Super League first-round.
The Bankers are playing brilliant football this season; their defence is as solid as a rock, their midfield as creative as bees and their striking force as lethal and deadly as a venomous snake. They are, this far, unbeaten having recorded nine wins and five draws.
It is an amazing story for the Young Chimodzi coached side which is still work in progress having started their rebuilding last season. There are more new and inexperienced young faces in the team but they fight with hearts of lions.
In Wanderers though, Silver will face a side with an assortment of weapons capable of, when at their best, dismantling every team with power and style. Names like midfielder Joseph Kamwendo, strikers Peter Wadabwa and new purchase Esau Kanyenda have the potential to scare the faint-hearted.
But Silver team manager Francis Songo refuses to be intimidated saying his side has proved to be strong even against the toughest opposition.
Nyasa Big Bullets, Civil Sporting Club and Red Lions are some clubs that have bullied and defeated at the hands of the Lilongwe giants.
“We didn’t win those matches by luck. We were just too good for them. We want to continue with that giant-killing spirit when we face Wanderers, “ Songo said.
More than anything, the team manager said they want to preserve the unbeaten record because it will consolidate their title bid.
“The worst we can get from this match is a draw,” he challenged.
Wanderers will be without right back Stanley Sanudi and midfielder Jabulani who are on national assignment in Morocco while strikers Ishmael Thindwa and Amos Bello are out injured and midfielder Alfred Manyozo is suspended.
Nomads team manager Steve Madeira said though they will be missing some key players they are still capable of beating Silver.
“The most important thing is to find the right balance. We have to be strong in all the departments to stop Silver. A win is achievable,” he said.
The bankers have a major boost as defender Yinusa Sheriff returns after serving his suspension while Chisomo Mpachika also returns after a long injury layoff.
Another defender Mike Robert has shaken off a hip injury and is in contention for a place but defence pillar Hebert Wayekha is sidelined by an ankle injury.
Statistically, Silver have an edge. In their past eight league meetings the Area 47 based side has won five times while Wanderers has three victories.
Silver can also draw inspiration from their recent Airtel Top 8 final triumph over their Blantyre rivals.
A draw or win would mean Wanderers, who are chasing their sixth league title, finishing the first round top with 37 points.
However, a win for Silver will see them finish top with 35 points and consequently enhance their chances of a nineth title.
The first round is awarded K300 000 at the end of the season. n