Malawi’s representative in Confederation of African Football (CAF) TotalEnergies Champions League, Nyasa Big Bullets, say they anticipate a tough preliminary first round following a draw against Tanzania giants Simba SC.
The TNM Super League defending champions will start their campaign in the preliminary first round at home on the weekend of September 9-11 while the second leg will be played on the weekend of September 16-18 2022, following a draw held yesterday in Cairo, Egypt.
If successful, they will face the winner between Zambia’s Red Arrows and Angola’s Primeiro de Agosto in the second round with the first leg set for the weekend of October 7-9 and second leg on October 14-16.
But Bullets chief executive officer Suzgo Nyirenda said beating Simba will not be an easy feat.
He said: “No draw is easy. Remember, this is Champions League and we are all champions.
“We will prepare for the showdown with the Tanzanian side and we are determined to pass this stage. It won’t be easy though.”
The preliminary fixtures pit Bullets against Flames midfielder Peter Banda, one of the best players the People’s Team has produced of late and sold to the Tanzanians just last year.
But Nyirenda said Bullets has a wonderkid in attacking midfielder Patrick Mwawungulu to match Banda.
“Battlelines are drawn. Do they know Mwawungulu? If they don’t, they will know him,” he said.
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda said the match between the two sides, who drew 0-0 in 2018 in an inter-club bonanza, can go either way.
He said: “Simba boast of having a very good squad from across the country.
“But of late they have struggled to translate this good squad into results.
“So, much as they are experienced in the CAF Champions League, it’s a 50-50 affair.”
Bullets hold Malawian clubs’ best performance record in CAF club competitions after making it to the knockout stage of the Champions League in 2004.
Last year, Bullets were booted out in first preliminary round by South Africa DStv Premiership outfit AmaZulu after losing 3-1 on aggregate.
The People’s Team beat the South Africa DStv Premiership side 1-0 at Moses Mabhiba Stadium in Durban, South Africa through a Chiukepo Msowoya first-half strike in a match they played with a player less following a red card to Yamikani Fodya.
However, the South Africans, who were then coached by Bafana Bafana legend Benni McCarthy, stunned the People’s Team 3-0 at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe in the second leg.
Wydad Athletic Club are the reigning TotalEnergies CAF Champions League champions while another Moroccan club, RS Berkane are the defending champions of the TotalEnergies CAF Confederation Cup.
The following countries will feature two teams each: Morocco (Wydad Casablanca, Botola champions), Egypt (Zamalek, Al Ahly), Algeria (Belouizdad, JS Kabylie), Tunisia (Espérance de Tunis, Monastirienne), South Africa (Mamelodi Sundowns, Cape Town City), Democratic Republic of Congo (TP Mazembe, AS Vita Club), Angola (Petro de Luanda, Primeiro de Agosto), Sudan (Al-Hilal, Al-Merrikh SC), Libya (Al-Ittihad Club-Tripoli, Al-Ahly SC), Guinea (Horoya AC, SOA Renaissante), Tanzania (Young Africans, Simba) and Nigeria (Rivers United, Plateau United). The rest, including Malawi, will feature a team each.