Nyasa Big Bullets yesterday returned from South Africa to a heroes’ welcome after they shot down DStv Premiership outfit AmaZulu FC 1-0 on Friday in the 2020 CAF Champions League first leg.
Hours before the team’s flight arrival, scores of Bullets diehards thronged Chileka Airport in Blantyre to welcome the players.
Draped in the team’s red and white colours, they waited for their heroes while singing songs of praise for the TNM Super League champions and coach Kallisto Pasuwa following the sweet victory.
Bullets showed character holding on to a 1-0 lead from a Chiukepo Msowoya’s 26th minute goal after a first half red card to left-back Yamikani Fodya.
Back in South Africa, AmaZulu coach Benni McCarthy had no kind words for his charges for failing to utilise plenty of scoring opportunities they created.
The former Bafana hitman said he expected a tougher second leg when the two sides clash on September 18 at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe.
He said: “We made things extremely difficult for ourselves. We should expect exactly the same thing in Malawi. They are in the driving seat. They got an away goal. It was difficult to watch. Difficult to accept what happened.
“Now we have to go to the jungle. We have to go to a very difficult place to play and overturn losing at home. Now we have to win away in Africa. The conditions are different from here.
“The food, the weather, everything. We don’t know the stadium, the pitch we gonna play on—is it playable? We don’t know what we gonna face.”
Despite dominating the game, AmaZulu fired blanks upfront and McCarthy stressed the need for players to be hungry for goals.
“We are playing good football, but playing good football and losing games doesn’t benefit you. Goals win games.
“Good football looks beautiful, but you can only enjoy if you score goals. Unfortunately, we are not doing that. That’s a huge concern.”
However, the former FC Porto and Blackburn Rovers striker also doffed a hat for Bullets for withstanding the barrage of attacks.
“This team works hard. They have far more desire of achieving something than us. One long ball into the box and they scored and won the game.
“Is football injustice? No, it’s just that this team when they get even half chance, they stick it in the net.
“I don’t think Bullets were lucky. They deservedly won the game because they were a team that was brave enough to put the ball in the back of the net.”
McCarthy also accused his charges of taking the game casually, after Bullets got a red card.
He said: “Some of our players thought it was an easy walk in the park and you could see lack of desire in them to score goals. There was nothing from our front players.
“That’s why in South Africa we keep on crying that we don’t have people who can score goals. We created more than 20 chances but still we were on the losing side. How do you explain that?”
But Zimbabwean Pasiwa warned that the battle is not over as he expects AmaZulu to come flat out in the second leg.
“The boys did well. They solidly defended that goal. As you know there will be no supporters in the stadium. So it’s 50-50. We need to do more at home if we are to go through. We will not sit back and defend the one goal we scored,” he said.
If successful, Bullets will meet five time champions TP Mazembe of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the second preliminary round.