Bullets coach relishes strong bond he builds with his players as secret to team’s success

* As The People’s Team win their 5th consecutive TNM Super League title and their 17th overall

* One area is to have control of your dressing room. These players need a special bond with their head coach

* You need to be closer to them. If I can tell you, I always visit all these players, I know where they live and I eat what they eat

By Duncan Mlanjira

After winning his 5th consecutive TNM Super League title on Sunday at Kamuzu Stadium after drawing 1-1 with contenders, Silver Strikers, Nyasa Big Bullets coach Kalisto Pasuwa says his good relationship with his players is of utmost importance for every coach’s success.

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“It hasn’t been easy to win these titles,” he told nyasabigbullets.com. “One area is to have control of your dressing room. These players need a special bond with their head coach.

“You need to be closer to them. If I can tell you, I always visit all these players, I know where they live and I eat what they eat. So when they are playing football, they play for you even if the going gets tough, they alsways give everything for you — and that’s has been the key secret.

He described the 2023 season as one of the toughest since he took charge of the Bullets five years ago — and never missing a step — in which the champions endured congested fixtures in the past four months on top of the TNM Super League assignments, they had to honour four tough Confederation of Africa Football (CAF) Champions League international matches — two being two legs against one of Africa’s top sides, TP Mazembe.

They have also been involved in the domestic FDH Bank Cup competition which they defended in October, and remain with two competitions to wrap up the 2023 calendar — the Airtel Top 8 final and are in the last 32 of the Castel Challenge Cup in which they face non-leaguers, Soche Socials on Tuesday at the Kamuzu Stadium.

Pasuwa told nyasabigbullets.com: “The race was one of the closest ever since I came into the country, but it was influenced by how the fixtures were arranged. I have been saying that when you play in the CAF Champions League, it’s like a punishment.

“You are given fixtures without resting, yet your rivals are on bye — waiting to watch your downfall. We were in Karonga, where we got attacked and I doubt if we were attacked by the home fans.

“I strongly believe someone was behind those attacks because they never wanted to see us succeed. It’s not on, we can do better to avoid manipulation. We played four away games despite having so many injuries, so we need to go back and work on his these fixtures are arranged.”

Bullets finished with 60 points from 30 games of 16 wins, 12 draws and three losses — three points ahead Silver Strikers (57) and five away from arch rivals, Mighty Wanderers (55), who are third.

Relegated at 16th place in their debut season are Extreme FC, joined by Red Lions who go back to the lower league after bouncing back into the top flight league two seasons ago, who finished on 15th place.

Blue Eagles, who have always given their best in the top flight league without being relegated since time immemorial and were runners up to Bullets last season, are also relegated having finished 14th.

Moyale Barracks escaped relegation by a whisker when they needed to win their last match by a 7-0 margin which they managed to beat Red Lions, to tie on points but through due to goal difference.

The Super League was created in 1986 and was first sponsored by Gillet Nacet, which was composed of eight teams — five from Blantyre & Districts Football League (BDFL) and three from Lilongwe & Districts Football League (LDFL).

Nyasa Big Bullets — formerly named Bata Bullets, Total Bullets and Bakili Bullets have won most of the titles (17) as inaugural champions in 1986, followed by 1991, 1992, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2014, 2015, 2018, 2019, 2020-21, 2022 and 2023.

Silver Strikers follow at 8 (1993, 1994, 1996, 2008, 2010, 2011–12, 2012-13 and 2013.

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Mighty Wanderers won it six times (1990, 1995, 1997, 1998, 2006 and 2017); ESCOM United twice (2007, 2010–11); and once by Admarc Tigers (1989); Civo United ((1987); MDC United (1988); Kamuzu Barracks (2016).

Interestingly, none has beaten the record as top goalscorer since Big Bullets former striker, Ganizani Malunga who scored 28 in 2002/03 season while Mighty Wanderers’s former players Aggrey Kanyenda came close with 26 in 2005-06 as well as Heston Munthali then for MDC United with 24 in 2001/02.

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