Nyasa Big Bullets say they are confident of doing well in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) TotalEnergies Champions League preliminary second round with their current squad.
CAF yesterday announced that it had shifted the deadline for registration of players from August 15 to August 22 to enable the participating clubs to beef up their squads.
But Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga yesterday said in an interview that they will maintain the 30 players they registered.
However, some local football analysts feel the TNM Super League champions, who face Tanzania’s Simba SC, have missed an opportunity to beef up their squad, more especially in defence, where they lack depth as exposed in the team’s recent two matches which saw them concede seven goals.
Bullets drew 4-4 against Moyale Barracks two weeks ago in the FDH Bank Cup before being held again 3-3 by Mighty Mukuru Wanderers in the TNM Super League last Sunday.
But Chigoga said it is unfair to judge Bullets, who are run-away leaders in the league with 49 points, 10 adrift of second placed Blue Eagles, based on isolated recent results.
He said: “The team cannot be judged by two games. In fact, the performance of this team is beyond expectations. It’s a team of predominantly up-and-coming players. Which team has performed better than Bullets so far after offloading 11 experienced senior players?”
Chigoga, however, said they are aware that the level of competition in the Champions League will be tough, as such they plan to play some friendly matches.
He said: “CAF is a different level altogether. But when we expressed interest to join this continental interclub competition, we understood the demands of this level. So, we cannot start lamenting over anything. We are good to go.”
Bullets will start their campaign at Bingu National Stadium on September 10 while the return leg will be played on the weekend of September 16-18.
If successful, they will face the winner between Zambia’s Red Arrows and Angola’s Primeiro de Agosto in the second round.
Bullets coach Pasuwa admitted that his side is dwarfed against experienced Simba.
He said: “Playing Simba is not going to be easy. But that is what Champions League is all about. The difference is that we will be featuring a new team. Let’s hope that will work in our favour.”
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda warned Bullets to be ready for a tough match against Simba SC.
He said: “It’s an open secret that Bullets need to beef up their squad. That Bullets defence is leaking goals. Mind you, they will face the best of the best in Africa.”
Another soccer analyst, Felix Ngamanya Sapao, said Bullets should be concerned with the second round fixture if they go past Simba SC.
He said: “It’s the next fixture against Agosto or Red Arrows that should worry them.”
Last year, Bullets were booted out in the first preliminary round by South Africa DStv Premiership outfit AmaZulu.