By Sozo Kaperemera
The two Malawi football heavy weights, Nyasa Big Bullets and Mukuru Wanderers have booked their spot in the semifinal of the prestigious Airtel Top 8 cup following their triumph against Karonga United and Mafco respectively.
Bullets were the first team to book their place in the semis after a convincing 8-1 aggregate win against Karonga United, going into the second leg against Karonga, Bullets were leading with 7 goals to nill which was an uphill task for Karonga to pull up an upset against the league and FDH cup winners.
During the match Karonga playing at home looked disciplined at the back with captain Eric Atsiga and Gabinho Daudi controlling the defense protecting Lloyd Munthali in goals from another embarrassment at the hands of free scoring Bullets but things didn’t go according to plan as the head coach for Karonga United Christopher Nyambose had said before the match that they will score more goals than the visitors, it was Hassan Kajoke who had beaten the offside trap by Karonga to connect the ball from veteran defender Yamikani Fodya who was operating from the midfield to give the visitors a goal lead and put down the hopes for the hosts of progressing to the semis.
In the second half the hosts came out fighting trying to savage a result from the match and it paid dividends as enterprising midfielder Mphatso Kamanga leveled the match but his goal was not enough to change the fortunes of the match.
In the post match interview, Nyambose praised his charges for a gallant fight against their opponents.
“My boys tried their best and I am proud of what they have done today, it was not easy to get this result, this season is gone we have to look forward to next season,” said Nyambose
On his part, Bullets head coach Kalisto Pasuwa said he expected a tough match at Karonga stadium.
“I didn’t expect a walk over against them(Karonga) because in the first leg we beat them and coming to their backyard it was going to be tough but bravo to my boys they fought hard and I can’t complain with the result,” Said Pasuwa
On Sunday at Chitowe stadium in Dwangwa, Wanderers were up against Mafco and the Lali Lubani side was going into the match with a 2 goal advantage.
The first leg was marred with some unsporting behavior before, during and after the match which saw Mafco head coach getting the matching orders which saw him out of the return match and his striker Richard Mbulu was also given a one match ban by the FA.
These events showed that Chitowe would be a no go zone for the Nomads but to the surprise of many, the match was full of fair play acts.
The first half ended in a goalless draw with boths sides firing blacks despite having clear chances in front of the goal.
Vincent Nyangulu for Wanderers missed a sitter in front of Mafco’s goal which was manned by Blessings Kameza on the other side his counterpart William Thole was also equal to the task when Bernard Chimaimba and co came knocking on his goal.
In the second half the Nomads came a changed side as coach Mark Harrison made some changes which later proved useful as veteran striker Chiukepo Msowoya connected well from a free kick taken by captain Stanley Sanudi leaving Kameza with no chance to save his team.
It didn’t take long when the Nomads midfield workhorse, Felix Zulu put the match to bed with a strike that made it 2 nill and 4 nill on aggregate.
After the game, Harrison said it was not easy to get the desired result.
“Am happy that we have made it into the last 4 but it was not easy to win I appreciate my players for playing according to the instructions,” said Harrison
Mafco assistant coach, Jimmy Mzunga accepted the defeat.
Defending champions, Nyasa Big Bullets will play the winner between Kamuzu Barracks and Silver Strikers who are tied at 1 all in the first leg while their cross town rivals Wanderers will have to battle for a place in the final against Blue Eagles or Dedza Dynamos in a tie which the Eagles are leading by 3-0.
The winners of this year’s Airtel Top 8 Zamadolo will walk home with 17 million kwacha and the runner’s up will get 6 million kwacha.