f you thought bringing old rivals together under the same roof would help ease their rivalry you better think twice, especially if those rivals come in red and blue colours. We are talking football here.
When Carlsberg Malawi Limited announced a 30 million Malawi kwacha sponsorship deal to be shared equally among age-old archrivals Big Bullets FC and Mighty Wanderers at the beginning of the 2012-2013 TNM Super League season now in its sixth week, some soccer commentators thought that would perhaps end the rivalry between the two sides which enjoy massive support in Malawi.
To the contrary, the move has only helped to aggravate the rivalry even more, especially with the assertion by the sponsors that they will earmark one team from the two giants for continued sponsorship next season, obviously the one that will emerge the better side at the end of this season.
This is exactly what will make the Sunday Super League derby between the Bullets and Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre a must to watch by all means as either team will want to prove a point and convince the sponsors why they should stake their money on them and not the other team.
Each time these two giants clashed in the past, whether in league, friendly or cup competitions, it was wafawafa (total war) whose winner could only be determined after the final whistle. That was the trend, it still is and will be for as long as Bullets and Wanderers exist on the local soccer scene.
Both sides started on a low key when the league kicked off in April, but have of late pulled up their socks and moved up the ladder on the league table. Bullets are a rung above their rivals at number three with 10 points from five games played so far, while Wanderers are on fourth with 8 points from the same number of games.
The last time they clashed was in a Fellowship Association of Malawi (FAMA) charity match during the off-season which Bullets won by 2-0. The Nomads will certainly go into Sunday’s match with an axe to grind, while Bullets will be looking forward to another victory and widen the gap between themselves and their closest pursuers.
Coaches of both sides have are promising fireworks.
Wanderers coach Franco Ndawa says he has told his players to put last week’s performance behind when they lost 3-2 to lowly Bvumbwe Research FC to be knocked out of the Presidential Cup race and struggled to hold Azam Tigers to a 1-all draw on Sunday in a league game and put their mind on the Sunday derby.
“It’s always tough and exciting each time we play Bullets and I promise Nyerere [Nomads fans] that we will not disappoint them on Sunday,” said Ndawa.
He admitted, though, that his striking force has been blunt of late, but said he has taken care of that. Ndawa will certainly be banking on revitalised midfiels star Joseph Kamwendo who seems to have found his scoring boots.
His counterpart, Eddington Ng’onamo, also said he is ready for the showdown and promised Bullets fans the best especially that Fischer Kondowe and Henry Kabichi are fit and back on their feet for action after being sidelined by injuries.
On Saturday, Escom United, who are lying at the bottom of the league table and are yet to register a win, will be at Kamuzu Stadium to face Blantyre United, who are third from the bottom.
It will not be very surprising to see the game played before an empty stadium considering the two teams’ poor performance since the start of the season. Both side lost a number of dependable players to other Super League teams at the beginning of the season for various reasons and are feeling the pinch.
Bvumbwe Research, who lost 2-1 to Azam Tigers last Sunday after ousting Wanderers 3-2 from the Presidential Cup, will engage Mafco at Chitowe in Dwangwa on Saturday before travelling to Lilongwe to face Civo United at Civo Stadium on Sunday.
It remains to be seen if the Super League rookies will come home a point from their outing. A win for them will be quite a bonus.
Azam Tigers will play host to Epac FC from the capital Lilongwe at Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo on Saturday. Epac will on Sunday be at Balaka Stadium to see if they can defeat second-placed Red Lions, who of late have proved to be quite difficult to beat, especially when they are playing at home.
In Mzuzu, newcomers Kabwafu FC and Kamuzu Barracks will size each other at Mzuzu Stadium on Saturday, while on Sunday it will be a soldiers’ affair as Moyale Barracks draw daggers with Kamuzu Barracks in what should be another exciting Super League encounter.
---©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment.