MZUZU--The official mourning period for the departed Malawi leader Bingu wa Mutharika is just over and some flags may still be flying at half mast, but the mood will certainly explosive in the capital Lilongwe this Saturday afternoon when rejuvenated Big Bullets FC and Blue Eagles face each other in the long-awaited clash in the grand finale of the Fellowship Association of Malawi (FAMA) Top 8 championship.
The final was initially slated for Easter Saturday but had to be deferred after the nation was hit by the death of the head of state on Thursday, April 5 after suffering a cardiac arrest at New State House in Lilongwe and after taking over the reins newly sworn Pres Joyce Banda announced a 30-day mourning period in honour of her predecessor during.
This Saturday, May 5 marks the official end of the mourning period and soccer lovers, starved of action for a month, cannot wait to don their sportswear and scarves of their teams’ colours and trek to the venue to cheer on their sides as they clash in the K12.5 million charity cup final, whose winners will smile all the way to the bank with a K3 million pay cheque from the sponsors.
The battle ground is Civo Stadium 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 if there will be no changes in the program, that is.
FAMA secretary Japhet Majekete had earlier said 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.
The organisers said they would also invite musicians to spice up the soccer fest, making it a really savoury feast of sorts not to be missed.
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.
And they will be all out to please their new Inspector General Lot Dzonzi, who on Wednesday offered some tips to his cops on how they could render the Bullets ineffective this afternoon.
Dzonzi told The Daily Times in an interview that in most games he had watched the Eagles play he had noted that they failed to defend their lead.
“I have watched them playing several games and the major weakness was failure to defend their lead. This is something they should guard against,” the new IG, who took over from fired Mukhito, told the paper ahead of this afternoon’s clash.
“Big Bullets will certainly be going into this match with a mission to restore [their] lost glory that they were the kings of football in the country. I would therefore urge [my] boys to be very confident and should work very hard,” he added.
And true enough, the People’s Team, which of late has shown signs of getting back to their old winning ways after a spate of drab performances in last season’s 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.
A decade has passed since Bullets won a cup, the last one being the Embassy Trophy in 2002 when they beat the now defunct MDC United on post-match penalties.
This afternoon the People’s Team will certainly go flat out to end that cup drought to please their dedicated fans, who have had little to cheer about all these years after their beloved side lost the sting that made them the most deadly side on the land for many, many years in their heady days.
Bullets coach Eddie Ng’onamo says the hour has come “to reward our fans for standing beside us through thick and thin all these years”.
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.
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.
Should they win this Saturday 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 who have clung to the club this far not for the money, but just 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