* The players are waiting for this moment to showcase their talent and they will play our usual game—Chatama
* In their previous knockout competition against Nyasa Big Bullets they lost through post-match penalties
* This is no longer a reserve side — it’s an excellent stand-alone side from the lower league—Pasuwa
* The Golden Boot chase is between Pasuwa’s Babatunde and Chazama’s Chikumbutso Salima at three goals apiece
By Duncan Mlanjira
Ahead of Sunday’s FDH Bank Cup final, Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve coach Enos Chatama says his charges are in brimming confidence to clinch the glamorous trophy — up against their senior side, saying it won’t be an easy stroll in the park for the cup-experienced Nyasa Big Bullets FC.
History is in the making as the lower league side, Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve eyes another big scalp in the 2022 FDH Bank Cup competition in which they beat TNM Super League giants Blue Eagles 2-1 in the semifinals; Extreme FC in Round of 16 and another top flight league, Tigers FC in Round of 32.
Chatama, who is revered as a very good tactical mentor specializing in youthful players, was very humble — only indicating at a prematch press conference on Friday that they go into the game having no pressure at all because history for them has been made just by reaching this far.
“The players are waiting for this moment to showcase their talent and they will play our usual game [without being intimidated by their side],” he said, while acknowledging that in their previous knockout competition against Nyasa Big Bullets they lost through post-match penalties.
He assured that he has a full squad at his disposal with no fears of injuries and that he left his charges for the prematch press conference relaxed and just waiting to get onto the pitch at Kamuzu Stadium.
Another interesting factor of the game is the Golden Boot chase, which is between player of the moment for the senior side, Babatunde Adepoju and Chazama’s Chikumbutso Salima at three goals apiece.
Asked about this special accolade fight, Chatama emphasized why history is in the making for this final.
The senior side head coach, Zimbabwean Calisto Pasuwa — which is his first-ever FDH Bank Cup final — gave huge respect to Bullets Reserve, stressing that the top form they are in, the team is no longer a reserve side but an excellent stand-alone side from the lower league.
Pasuwa paid tribute to the junior side, saying “they are playing very good football and we need to be well prepared for them”.
“Last time we met in a cup competition, we had to go into penalties because they gave us a tough time. They were always first to the ball, they were quick and this is an area we have worked on.”
He also took cognizance that being their first-ever FDH Bank Cup final, this will be an interesting match and it can’t get better by meeting team of the moment from the lower league side.
He said they are geared to win the glamorous trophy in order to stamp their authority as a huge brand in as far as domestic league is concerned that should propel them into adding value in their CAF championship participation.
Pasuwa’s Nyasa Big Bullets saw off Mighty Wanderers in style by thrashing their bitter arch rivals 4-0 in the FDH Bank Cup semifinal and Sunday’s match comes soon after The People’s Team clobbered relegation bound Sable Farming 5-1 in a TNM Super League match played at Kamuzu Stadium on Wednesday in which striker Babatude was in devastating form when he scored 4 of the goals with the other by Thomson Magombo.
Babatude, who was named Man of the Match, now has 16 league goals — overtaking Mighty Wanderers’ Muhammad Sulumba by 2 goals in the race for this league season’s Golden Boot.
Chatama is haled for having produced many talented players in the past four seasons, who have been promoted into the senior team as roped in by other TNM Super League sides.
Meanwhile, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) director of competitions, Gomezgani Zakazaka said the final is expected to provide so much excitement as had been throughout the competition, saying knockout matches are always unpredictable.
“In the past editions of the FDH Bank Cup, lower league sides have proved that there is something good being done in grooming players in the lower leagues,” he said.
“For the past few years, teams that have been promoted to the TNM Super League remained in the top flight, an indication that there is something special in the lower leagues.
“This has been manifested by Nyasa Big Bullets Reserve in qualifying for the FDH Bank Cup final against their own senior side. It has been an exciting cup season whose climax will be at Kamuzu Stadium on Sunday.”
Meanwhile, fans can buy advance tickets for the Sunday’s final in the following outlets: Kamuzu Stadium; and filling stations of Ndirande Energem; Limbe Market Total; Limbe Puma Hardware; Limbe Puma Post Office and Blantyre Speedy’s Total opposite Kios Restaurant.
The advance tickets are K1,500 for open stands; K2,500 for MBC Stand; K3,000 for Covered Stand and K6,000 for the VIP.
On Match Day, the open stands will be at K2,000; K3,000 for MBC Stand; K4,000 for Covered Stand and K8,000 for the VIP.