...as BB, Eagles clash in FAMA Top 8 finals after Bingu burial
MZUZU--April 29 is now the day soccer fans in Malawi’s capital Lilongwe are looking forward to after organisers rescheduled the Fellowship Association of Malawi (FAMA) Top 8 final where rejuvenated Big Bullets FC are all set to prove that they have indeed resurrected, while Blue Eagles are armed to the beak to lay claim to the championship.
The K12.5 million FAMA charity final, which was scheduled to take place on Easter Saturday at Civo Stadium in the capital Lilongwe, had to be called off at the eleventh hour on Good Friday following the death of State President Bingu wa Mutharika last Thursday.
Bullets FC had already travelled to Lilongwe from their base in the commercial city of Blantyre in readiness for the final clash with Eagles when the announcement to reschedule the match was made. They claim they incurred a loss of K300,000 in expenses, including transport, accommodation and food.
Meanwhile, the state has announced a 30-day mourning period in honour of the fallen head of state, whose burial will take place on April 23 at his Ndata Farm, where his first wife, Madame Ethel Mutharika, was laid to rest after a state funeral in June, 2007.
Civo Stadium remains the battle ground where a soccer feast awaits the Lilongwe fans, who will also be entertained to a titanic clash between Lilongwe City rivals Silver Strikers and Civo United who have been roped in to curtain-raise the FAMA charity grand finale.
FAMA secretary Japhet Majekete says they have organised the mouth-watering curtain-raiser to add more fire to the finals, which will certainly attract a capacity crowd at the 35,000-seat stadium.
As if that were not enough, the organisers have also invited musicians to spice up the soccer feast, making it a really savoury occasion not worth missing. But this will depend on whether the organisers will still want to go ahead with the prior arrangement as the final will be played within the 30-day mourning period, which officially ends on May 5.
This will be the first time Bullets and Eagles will be meeting in a cup final since 1994 when they last clashed in a Chibuku Cup final which Eagles won.
But it has taken 16 years since then for the Lilongwe cops to put silverware on their dusty shelf when they wrested the Standard Bank Cup and now they are aiming to add more glamour with the FAMA trophy.
On the other hand, the People’s Team, which of late has shown signs of getting back to life after a spate of drab performances in the TNM Super League and cup games in the recent past, will be aiming at nothing less than a win to recoup their long-lost glory.
What will spur the Bullets players more on the pitch is the fact that the club has promised them a lion’s share of the prize money should they defeat the cops.
And should they indeed win on that Sunday afternoon, the BB players and coaching panel will be given 60 percent of the K3 million prize money to share—not bad for the players, some of whom have clung to the club this far not because of the money, but just for the heck of it.
BB have been without sponsors since 2005 when former president Bakili Muluzi stopped bankrolling them.
----©2012 The Maravi Post. Reproduction authorised, with usual acknowledgment