After a week of needless fixture mix-ups and uncertainty on venues, the K60 million (about $240 000) Presidential Cup semi-final finally â€˜landsâ€™ at Kamuzu Stadium today (Saturday).
The battle of the last four starts with a soldiersâ€™ combat between Red Lions and Moyale Barracks followed by Big Bullets meeting with Escom United tomorrow at the same venue.
Lions go into this battle with a slight upper hand as they are the only unbeaten Super League team this campaign. Moyale, though, cannot be underrated as their reputation as cup specialists is well cemented in the pysche of domestic football.
Daniel Katunga and Emmanuel Banda are the Lions front men Moyale should be wary of. The Kaningâ€™ina Lionsâ€™ biggest asset has been their outspoken coach Nicholas Mhango who is viewed as a cup strategist.
That Moyale, having lost over 10 players to Malawi Defence Force (MDF) training and other teams, have still reached the semi-finals speak volumes of Mhangoâ€™s ability to inspire players.
And, of course, having served as an assistant to Mhango for some years, Lions coach Collins Nkuna knows which button to press.
After todayâ€™s meeting, the stage will be perfectly set for Big Bullets and Escom.
Bullets are riding on a wave of fine form, having booted out giant killers Bvumbwe Research 4-0 last weekend at the same venue. Teenage sensation Frank â€˜Gabadiniâ€™ Mhango was simply unstoppable, netting a hat-trick.
Under wise guidance of veteran Heston Munthali and busy-as-a bee Diverson Chilemba, the test has been authored for the new-look Escom United.
During the week, Bullets general secretary Higger Mkandawire declared that winning the semi-final was not optional.
“It is time to restore the glory days,” said Mkandawire.
Escom general secretary Richard Samba admitted that tomorrowâ€™s battle offers them an opportunity to put their campaign on track.
“We have started the season badly in the Super League. We need money and the cup presents us an opportunity to make money,” Samba said during the week.
Malumbo Gondwe is Escomâ€™s midfield brain whereas underrated left-back Spencer Chapantha never puts his foot wrong, often overlapping to add attacking numbers.