This weekend will be tense and exciting for soccer lovers on the domestic scene as current TNM Super League leaders, Silver Strikers date third placed Blantyre United while their fellow title chasing contenders Big Bullets have declared that they will not take their foot off the pedal as both sides have tricky fixtures on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
The People’s Team, who are chasing for the title after a long spell dates Civo United at the ‘intimidating’ Civo Stadium in Lilongwe in a crucial encounter whose outcome will have a significant impact on the chances of the populous Ndirande Township based out-fit.
Presently, the People’s Team with 49 points from 25 games, occupies second position on the Super League log chart.
The commercial city giants are trailing behind Silver Strikers by two points although the Bankers have an added advantage having played 24 games with one difference.
Therefore, a win to Civo United tomorrow will simply mean, Bullets dislodging the Bankers on the top slot but hoping for Blantyre United to frustrate the Bankers on Sunday.
Bullets coach, Eding’ton Ng’onamo is aware that this is a match they just must win to enhance chances of hanging on to the title because after this encounter, there are, on the undesirable menu, relentless and unpredictable Epac F.C and Red Lions .
Before leaving Blantyre for Lilongwe, Big Bullets Coach Eding’ton Ng’onamo declared that his charges would comfortably invade the capital city with one mission, which is to collect maximum points.
“This is the time we have been anxiously waiting for, we have been dancing to Civo United tune for a long time at their backyard, but everything has its own time and l guess it’s now time we stopped them in their tracks,” said Ng’onamo.
Ng’onamo spiced up his big talk by declaring that his slippery striker Gabadihno Mhango had already plotted the Area 3 out-fit’s downfall.
At the heart of the People’s Team road to more glory will be versatile midfielder Chimango Kayira who has been their driving force in midfield. He is a workhorse, never stops running and makes Bullets engine room boiling for the entire 90 minutes.
And then there is no nonsense, Douglas ‘Section 65’ Chirambo, who was last weekend in their 2-0 victory to Moyale Barracks voted man of the match.
Other potential match winners for Bullets could be their wonderboy Gabadihno Mhango, Dalitso Sailesi, Diverson Mlozi and Fischer ‘Jahman’ Kondowe.
Civo United caretaker coach, Thom Mkorongo whose side lies on position nine with 36 points said they were geared for Bullets and vowed to upset the tables.
Mkorongo said he has enough armoury in their golden boy Martin Masoatheka who gives defenders sleepless nights with his goal scoring instincts. The others are Emmanuel ‘Siyeni’ Zoya, Dave Ng’ambi and Lazarous Chirwa.
In another mouth watering match on Sunday, Silver Strikers have a tricky assignment as they host another League contender Blantyre United at Silver Stadium.
Blantyre United, also popularly known as, ‘Mphembedzu’ have vowed to snatch the championship from the area 47 giants.
Blantyre United coach, Elijah Kananji said they will live up to their word with a rejuvenated youthful side and their ‘ganyu’ fans in the capital city will be repaid handsomely for their royalty.
“The battle is still on and people should not rule us out because anything can happen in football. We can upset the table,” said Kananji.
In his remarks, Silver Strikers coach, Franco Ndawa said the Bankers are fired up with players like Peter ‘Pido’ Pindani, Ndaona Daisi, Rodrick Gonani, Harvey Nkacha and Ndaziona Chatsalira.
On the other side, Blantyre United Brown Mizeyi who has returned to his goal scoring instincts with his recent a goal-a- game record will be a man to watch.
In other matches on Saturday, Mafco FC takes on Epac FC at Chitowe Stadium, as relegated Bvumbwe Research face Kamuzu Barracks at Kamuzu Stadium.
On Sunday, another relegated side, Escom United rock horns with Mighty Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium, as the old capital city of Malawi hosts a military affair between Red Lions and Kamuzu Barracks at Zomba Community Centre Ground.
Head coach Herve Renard has said he is to blame for Zambia's failure to reach the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations quarter-finals.
The defending champions were eliminated after a 0-0 draw against Burkina Faso in their final Group C game on Tuesday.
"I loved my team tonight. If there is someone who is responsible then it's me, not my players," said Renard.
While Zambia exited the competition, Burkina Faso celebrated a first second round qualification on foreign soil.
The Chipolopolo claimed a shock tournament victory in last year's event as they beat favourites Ivory Coast in a dramatic penalty shoot-out.
But draws against Ethiopia, Nigeria and the Stallions saw the Super Eagles progress at their expense thanks to a brace of penalties from Victor Moses in their final fixture.
The result ensured Zambia became the first holders to exit the competition at the group stage in 21 years.
"It's better to have won something in your life than always qualify for the quarter-finals, but never win anything," said Frenchman Renard.
"This is not the end of the world. Before we used to go home a lot of times after the first round, and today you have to accept that this is football.
"Everybody is sad but my players did their maximum, and I'm very proud of them. It's not the end of the world."
The stalemate with Zambia owed much to a dogged performance from Burkina Faso as they chose to flood the midfield and slow play down, a tactic coach Paul Put acknowledged after the game in colloquial fashion.
"The ingredient for the day was more pepper than salt for the soup," he said.
Burkina Faso - who will now meet the runners up in Group D on Sunday - had only previously reached the last-eight of the competition when they were hosts in 1998, and Put praised his side for making "history" in South Africa.
"I think it's Burkina Faso's biggest achievement because they hosted it one time and then they reached the semi-finals," he said.
"Our first target was to do better than in [more recent] African Cup of Nations, and we had already achieved that by drawing with Nigeria and beating Ethiopia. I think it's history for Burkina Faso."
MZUZU--Many soccer fans in the country have been given an assignment of searching another team to support in the on going African Cup of Nations (AFCON) following the under performance of the neighbouring country – Zambia. Zambia, the 2012 AFCON champions, have just been kicked out of the tournament after failing to beat Burkina Faso.
The game which was a must win for Zambia ended 0-0, results enough to show the Chipolopolo boys an exit door from the tournament. Burkina Faso cruises to the last eight of AFCON as group winners and will find out their opponents – Togo or Tunisia – in the next round tomorrow.
In Group C’s other match on Tuesday, Nigeria have beaten Ethiopia 2-0 and earned themselves a quarter-final against Ivory Coast. Zambia become the first defending champions to fail to qualify to the second round of their title of the African Cup of Nations since 1990 when Algeria failed to defend the cup in Senegal.
The defending champions failed to score a goal against a determined Bukina Faso team that wanted nothing but a draw. So far Zambia have not won a single game in South Africa.
Moyale Barracks custodian MacDonald Harawa has been handed a six months ban by the Super League of Malawi (Sulom) with his team being fined K150,000.00 for punching the referee Sammy Mangasanja and assaulting his assistant Kelvin Ngolonga at a match between Big Bullets and Moyale Barracks.
In a 2-0 encounter in favour of the People’s Team in the elite TNM Super League last Sunday at Kamuzu Stadium, Harawa was shown marching orders after punching Mangasanja before assaulting Ngoleka for being dissatisfied with Heston Munthali’s goal, which he said was scored on an off-side position.
“We would like to advise that pursuit to disciplinary hearing that was held on 29th January 29, 2013 at Pacific Hotel, Sulom disciplinary Committee made the following findings; That on 27th January, 2013, Moyale goalkeeper, Mac Donald Harawa assaulted a, threatened and punched the referee, Sammy Mangasanja and assaulted first assistant referee Kelvin Ngolanga contrary to Super League of Malawi, Rules and Regulation and Fifa disciplinary code article 12 and 49.51 and 60 respectively,” reads the first paragraph of the verdict.
On point 2, it states that what Harawa did was coercion, brawl and offensive behavior brought the game of football into disrepute while on point 3 it says further that this lead to exchange of words between Moyale officials and referees.
On the last point 9, Sulom says that Moyale officials, members and supporters directly or indirectly interrupted, obstructed or disturbed the normal proceedings of the game in contravening of articles 13.1.2 and 13.2.1 of the Sulom constitution and behaved in a manner which brings SULOM and its sponsors TNM into disrepute.
However, in its ruling, which was released on Tuesday, January 29, 2013 following their disciplinary meeting at Pacific Hotel in Lilongwe, Sulom slapped Harawa with a six months ban while his club was fined K150, 000.00.
“In view of the foregoing, you are hereby ordered and advised as follows; That Moyale FC Club should pay a fine of MK 150,000.00 prior to your next official match and that your player MacDonald Harawa has been suspended for six months for the punching of the referee and also shall serve the two match automatic suspension in line with article 49 of the FIFA disciplinary code considering that this is the second time that Moyale players have misbehaved in 2012/2013,” reads part of the verdict, which was signed by Sulom’s general secretary Williams Banda with copies to Moyale Barracks FC and Big Bullets FC.
Sulom has however, strongly warned Moyale Barracks that further similar incidents shall lead to life ban of the player from the League.
Sulom has also stated to Moyale Barracks that they are free to appeal as per article 14 (e) of the Sulom rules and regulations upon paying the appeal fee of MK100, 000.00.
BLANTYRE--Former TNM Super League champions Escom United and Bvumbwe Research have been relegated from top flight league after suffering heavy 4-1 and 5-0 defeats to Silver Strikers and Epac FC in Lilongwe on Sunday.
After losing 3-0 and 2-1 to Mafco and Blue Eagles respectively the previous day, both sides knew only a win would keep their faint survival chances alive but ended up losing hands down.
Silver scored through Ndaziona Ndaisi and Peter Pindani in the first half before Rodrick Gonani and Ndaziona Chatsalira put some day light between the two sides after the break. Bernard Harawa pulled a goal back for the visitors later on.
The win takes leaders Silver 3 points clear of Blantyre United in the race for league title ahead of their encounter this coming weekend.
At Civo Stadium in Lilongwe, Epac condemned Bvumbwe to the drop, thanks to an Ishmael Thindwa hattrick.
Escom coach Alex Masanjala was down hearted after the final whistle as the harsh reality of playing in the Professor Peter Mutharika Southern Region football league sunk in.
He said, "Most of the guys did not give their best today, unfortunately this is where it ends for us. We will use the remaining games to try, .. give some of the boys a run out so that they gain some experience."
Silver coach Franco Ndawa felt the win has given his side the edge as they close in on defending their league crown.
He said, "We are delighted with the win because it gives the advantage in the title race. It’s in our hands now hopefully we will finish off the job."