Nyasa Big Bullets Reserves were on Sunday crowned inaugural PowerStart Tayale Knockout Trophy winners after beating Changalume Barracks 1-0 at Balaka Stadium.
Patrick Mwaungulu did the hard work. Chikumbutso Salima put the icing on the cake and, Just like that, it was done and delivered for the People’s Team’s reserve side.
The thrilling final appeared to be heading for a goalless draw until Salima received a crispy pass from Mwaungulu on the left flank, ran with the ball into the 18-yard box and released a thunderbolt into the far corner, leaving Changalume goalkeeper Francis Nkanda rooted to the ground.
With the 61st-minute priceless goal, Bullets Reserves were assured of the bragging rights of the Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) knockout trophy and, with it, a K1 million prize.
After the final whistle, Reserves turned the pitch into a theatre of celebrations and hoisted their coach Enos Chatama, who could not hide his excitement.
“It was not an easy victory,” said the coach, whose side had not conceded a goal in their last four games. “Changalume gave us tough time and it was a big relief to end up victorious.”
On his part, Changalume coach Chifundo Masapula said: “We had a lot of scoring opportunities, but were all wasted. All the same, congratulations to Bullets Reserves.”
Changalume got K650 000 as runners-up. Blantyre City FC thrashed Immigration FC 4-1 in a third-place play-off to get the K350 000 prize.
In individual awards, Mwaungulu was the top scorer with nine goals while Changalume’s team captain Davie Major was named the tournament’s best player.
In media awards, Solomon Manda (Nation Publications Limited) won the best print journalist while Yasin Limu (TV Islam) took the honours in television category. Richard Tiyesi (Timveni) was the best online journalist and Dan Chemisi Makiyi (FM 101) won in the radio section. He was followed by Yohane M’bwera (Sapitwa FM) and Emmanuel Harry (Blantyre Synod Radio).
Powertex Limited managing director Itayi Chidzero, whose battery manufacturing company bankrolls the trophy with K5 million, said they were satisfied with the inaugural contest and they will be back next season.
Football Association of Malawi general secretary Alfred Gunda and SRFA chairperson Raphael Humba thanked the sponsors for their trust in second-tier football.