History was rewritten at the 2021 Cecafa Kagame Inter-club Cup as Nyasa Big Bullets became the first Malawian team to reach the final since 1983.
But it was a case of so near, yet so far for the People’s Team as they failed to bring the trophy home after losing to Ugandan champions Express FC 1-0.
Mighty Tigers, formely Admarc Tigers, were the last Malawian outfit to make it to the final of the competition and lost to AFC Leopards of Kenya in 1983.
In the year about to end, Bullets made it to the final in style by maintaining an unbeaten run in Group A.
They drew 1-1 against hosts Young Africans, who had to come from behind after Bullets took the lead through Chiukepo Msowoya.
Then they came from behind to hold Express FC 1-1 through another Msowoya goal.
The People’s Team made it to the semi-finals after a 2-0 victory over South Sudan’s Atlabara through Nixon Nyasulu and Hassan Kajoke goals.
They faced hosts Azam FC in the semis and the two sides tied 2-2 after regulation and extra time.
The dramatic semi-final saw Bullets taking the lead through Bright Munthali just two minutes into the match, but an own goal from Nyasulu allowed Azam to come back into the game.
The hosts then went on to take the lead, but a late equaliser from Munthali forced the match to be decided on post-match penalties which Bullets won 4-2.
The People’s Team’s qualification to the final also meant they became the first guest team to make it that far.
But when hopes were high that Bullets would rewrite history again by becoming the first guest team to win the cup, everything came tumbling down.
The final against Express was the climax of Bullets’ fairy-tale journey at the regional competition as guests.
Bullets were dealt a blow when Msowoya, their top goal scorer at the tournament, excused himself to attend his mother’s funeral service in Karonga.
In the final, Express, came out victorious courtesy of Martin Kizza’s lone goal.
But as a consolation, Bullets left back Yamikani Fodya scooped Player of the Tournament Award.
The Malawian giants returned home K17 million richer for finishing as runners-up.
Despite the final loss, Bullets assistant coach Peter Mponda, who led the team in the absence of head coach Callisto Pasuwa who tested positive for Covid-19, said the tournament was a perfect preparation for CAF Champions League.