Mighty Wanderers have set their eyes firmly on dislodging Red Lions from the summit of the TNM Super League table as they wind up their first-round fixtures this weekend in Mzuzu.
The Nomads set about their Northern Region foray this afternoon with a potentially tricky fixture against rookies Mzuzu United at Mzuzu Stadium before dating Moyale at the same venue tomorrow.
Lions and Wanderers are tied on 24 points from 12 games, but it is the Lions from Zomba Mountain who have bragging rights courtesy of their superior goal difference. Interestingly, third-placed Blue Eagles also have 24 points.
Both Lions and Eagles are on bye this weekend, but fourth-placed Kamuzu Barracks, who trail the Nomads by a point, host Evirom at their fortress Dedza Stadium tomorrow.
A win for the Nomads this afternoon will take them three points clear at the top and it will be a situation of ‘catch us if you can’ if they can manage to collect full points in Mzuzu.
But while the odds are tipped in the blue side of town in today’s fixture, their coach Stuart Mbolembole is keeping a weather eye on the rookies.
“On paper, we could be tipped as odds-on favourites to collect maximum points, but the game of football is evolving such that we cannot afford to underrate any team. So, even for Mzuzu United, we’ll accord them the respect they deserve and the approach will be serious. Apart from that, playing away is always a challenge and fulfilling two fixtures within 24 hours is also very taxing,” said Mbolembole.
The Nomads mentor said the importance of their two matches cannot be emphasised.
“These will be our last first-round fixtures and, if we can collect full points, then we’ll have a good chance of finishing at the top,” said Mbolembole.
He said having been booted out of the Carlsberg Cup, they have now switched focus to the league.
“Apparently, we have had quite a good run in the league of late, winning four out of our last five games and drawing the other, but while that gives us confidence going into the weekend games, it is no guarantee that we’ll win,” said Mbolembole.
The Nomads will be without their exciting winger Kondwani Lufeyo who twisted an ankle during training earlier this week. Striker Innocent ‘Rooney’ Dzimbiri is also expected to undergo a fitness test today.
However, the Nomads will look up to their player-of-the-moment Kondwani Kumwenda.
Mzuzu United are second from the bottom of the table on eight points from 12 games, but their team manager Steve Kachimanga downplayed the minnows tag, saying with an ounce of luck, his youthful side could eclipse the might of Wanderers.
“Wanderers are a big team, but we are preparing for them knowing that a win could see us move two or probably three places up the ladder,” said Kachimanga.
Captain Lazarus Nyemera, Brian Phiri and Madalitso Chiumia carry the hopes that have been thrust on their shoulders by United.