The football sphere will this afternoon entirely be about bombs, guns and cuffs as Kamuzu Barracks (KB) and Blue Eagles battle it out in an all military Fisd Challenge Cup final where the bravest will pocket a K20 million grand prize.
This match will, in ranking terms, separate superintendents and constables from lieutenants and corporals. It will, to a much larger extent, answer the question: who has the mightiest football weaponry?
Civo Stadium in Lilongwe, that ancient soccer cathedral, has hosted unpredictable, nail-biting and explosive encounters before, but this, by the look of things, promises to be a standout episode.
The two sides’ case is stronger than old wine. This season has seen high level competition across all tournaments and, therefore, the fact that they stood out, tells a tale of invincibility.
So, this match is about the best in this tournament. There can be no arguments or complaints.
A dig into the archives, reveal KB have dominated their past duels having won 10 matches against Eagles’ seven while four matches ended in a draw.
This will also be the third final appearance for KB in four editions, but the first for the cops, statistics which further tip the scales in the soldiers’ favour.
But the Malawi Police Service (MPS) side can take comfort in their top form this season. They have defeated all the top teams—Nyasa Big Bullets, Be Forward Wanderers and Silver Strikers—in the league and elsewhere.
To reach the final, they demolished Silver 4-0 at the same venue where they will try to spark a new wave of heroism this afternoon.
Eagles assistant coach Wilson Chidati is optimistic his side can claim the trophy.
“Recently, we won the Bingu Ikhome Bonanza which is giving us confidence that if we can play the way we did we can obviously carry the day,” he said.
KB’s fine run in the tournament coincided with the return of their star players from the peace-keeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The returnees Harvey Nkacha, Kelvin Hanganda and Mustapha Salimu were instrumental in the team’s Super League triumph in 2016 and the Fisd Cup success a year later.
But this time, it is blossoming forward Fransisco Kamdzeka, who is tipped to lead the soldiers’ attack. He is the competition’s leading scorer with five goals and is within sniffing distance from winning the Golden Boot Award.
It is not surprising, therefore, that their assistant coach has placed his hopes on them.
“These guys have vast experience owing to our past glories. I believe they will drive the team to another success,” he said.
But his KB counterpart Temwa Msuku acknowledges that in Eagles, they will face a side that is resilient and aggressive defensively and offensively.
“They have a habit of suffocating your defence so we must be alert enough. We managed to limit their attacks in league games this season and did not concede a goal in the two matches. We can contain them again,” he said.
Interestingly, Eagles’ talisman Schumacher Kuwali is breathing down Kamdzeka’s neck with four goals on second position.
KB defeated lower Hangover 4-1 to reach the final.
Msuku will be hoping that his defensive colonels Chimwemwe Chisambi, Nashon Haraz and Sam Chivunde will be alert to thwart any danger with the midfield brigadiers Nkacha and Chikoti Chirwa dictating play and attacking lieutenants Hanganda, Marshal Maluwa and Kamdzeka shooting at the enemies with utter precision.
Eagles will be praying that defensive constables Steve Chagoma, Onesmo Mbendera and Osward Maonga have enough cuffs to arrest any law breakers. Micium Mhone and Vitumbiko Kumwenda will likely be entrusted with midfield patrol roles while Foster Biton and Kuwali will lead the prosecution team against KB defence.
Sponsors Foundation for Irrigation and Sustainable Development (Fisd) Limited communications and marketing manager Wezzie Chiumia said they are looking forward to a grand finale packed with beautiful and competitive football.