- Category: Sports Extra
- Written by Peter Kanjere
Chart-bursting hit Zili ndiIi Iwe by Maskal depicts a lover pledging unconditional love while throwing the ball to the partner. Maskal sings: Zili ndi iwe kuti udzandikonde/udzandisiye/udzandinyoze etc.
Loosely translated “it is up to you to love, leave or embarrass me.”
Like that lover, the TNM Super League title race seems to pose the same challenge to the team it has loved since 2010, Silver Strikers.
There is enough evidence that the title is for the Lilongwe-based defending champions to lose. For a while, the title flirted with Blantyre United only to return last weekend to its preferred lover, Silver.
Last Sunday, Silver thumped ‘relegated’ Kabwafu United 4-0 to tie on 48 points with United. But the Bankers lead on superior goal aggregate. On top of that, they will play all their five remaining games at home while Blantyre United have only three games left.
Silver host Escom United this Saturday. In the other fixtures, they host Blantyre United, travel to Civo Stadium for a clash with Kamuzu Barracks, then welcome Epac FC and Mighty Wanderers.
The statistics make interesting reading. Last season, Silver won the championship on 48 points garnered from 14 wins, six draws and eight losses.
Now, the Bankers, under Frank ‘Franco’ Ndawa who replaced Thom Mkolongo midway the campaign, have posted 15 wins, three draws and five losses. It is a strong hint that the Lilongwe giants could win the title for a third consecutive season.
And the advantage to the Bankers is that they start the five-game count down with Escom United, who have let in nine goals in the last two games while managing just one; an own goal registered in the latest 5-1 humiliation by Big Bullets.
The embarrassment, coming after a 4-0 midweek mauling by hungry Azam Tigers, was enough for Escom veteran coach Alex Masanjala to change his tune from the earlier “I believe we can survive” to “it will now be extremely difficult for us to survive.”
It will not be easy fancying beating Silver who have this season, lost once in 13 home matches compared to 11 defeats on the road for the Electricians. Escom are second off the foot of the 15-member table on 19 points.
Under Masanjala, Escom have won once and lost thrice. It is hard to imagine that this is the team that, last season, finished second to Silver.
The irony is that on Sunday, James Chilapondwa, who was among many key players, Escom released in an unthinkable clear-out, scored. Escom ‘chased’ Chilapondwa alongside Heston Munthali and Chimango Kaira, among others.
Looking at the lesser challenge that toothless Escom are likely to take to Silver this Saturday, it appears the Bankers’ only worthwhile contenders could be Blantyre United, positioned second, and third-placed Bullets. United and Bullets are remaining with three and four games, respectively.
“We are taking each game at a time. Last season we finished the season on 42 points and now we are at 48 points. It is a bonus,” remarked Blantyre United midfielder Jimmy Chikulekule recently.
Blantyre United can as well travel confidently to Silver Stadium since they beat the Bankers in the first round. The Elia Kananji side has, over the last two seasons, always stood out to be counted among giants.
The other team to give Silver some headache is Epac; otherwise the rest seem like forgone conclusion for the Bankers. It is up to Silver to disappoint the Super League title which favours them so much.
Maskal might have as well been singing for Silver’s championship party, come next month when the league’s curtain goes down.