FDH Bank Cup quarter-final battles burst into action this afternoon with Mighty Mukuru Wanderers seeking vengeance on Kamuzu Barracks (KB) while Chitipa United eye a historic victory over Nyasa Big Bullets.
At Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre, Wanderers will get into the field not only to hunt for a successive semi-final slot in the country’s richest cup competition, but are also on a mission to avenge their recent 1-2 home defeat that ended the Nomad’s unbeaten run against the Lilongwe-based soldiers in the TNM Super League.
Buoyed by their heroic comeback in a three-all stalemate over rivals Bullets in last weekend’s Blantyre derby, newly-appointed Wanderers coach Alex Ngwira believes his charges have what it takes to beat KB.
“We know KB will come hard on us to continue undermining our territory but we cannot afford to lose consecutive home matches
against the soldiers,” he said.
But KB coach Charles Kamanga yesterday said they are ready to overcome the Nomads, who prevented them from winning the 2016 Fisd Challenge Cup.
“Memories are still fresh of how Wanderers beat us in the Fisd Cup final and we cannot allow them to block us from progressing to the FDH Bank Cup semi-finals,” he said.
Both Wanderers and KB said they do not have injury worries ahead of today’s affair. The likes of Vincent Nyangulu, Felix Zulu and Stanley Sanudi are ready for the Nomads’ mission while KB bank hopes on players such as Zeliat Nkhoma and Matias Nyirenda, who have two goals and a goal, respectively, in the competition.
As for Bullets, their trip
up North has been riddled by some set-backs as coach Kalisto Pasuwa has to find replacements for key players such as prolific striker Patrick Mwaungulu and goalkeeper Clever Nkungula, who sustained injuries during the Blantyre derby.
Bullets assistant coach Peter Mponda yesterday said as they face second-tier league side Chitipa at Rumphi Stadium this afternoon, they have left no stone unturned to avoid exiting the competition at a quarter-final stage as was the case in the last edition when they lost 4-2 on post-match penalties to eventual champions Silver Strikers after a two-all draw.
“We know we are facing a very dangerous team. Although we are playing a second-tier league team, it will be a very difficult game. We have already warned our players not to be complacent; thinking it will be an easy game. Mentally and physically, the boys are looking strong,” he said.
Bullets, who have attackers Babatunde Adepoju and Lanjesi Nkhoma on the list of top six scorers in the FDH Bank Cup, have not lost to Chitipa in all their last six meetings, having registered four wins and two draws.
However, Chitipa coach Gift Mkamanga said their inferiority to Bullets is mere history as the Lions of Chitipa are set to cause a big upset this afternoon.
“We have had enough humiliation at the hands of Bullets and it is now our time to shine. It is our dream to qualify for the semi-finals and nothing can stop us on our mission,” he said.
Chitipa, who were relegated from the Super League last season, have the likes of Alex Benson and Kenson Mlenga ready to advance their agenda.
Chitipa FC is among the four lower-league teams that have made the quarter-final grade. Others are Bullets Reserves, Changalume Barracks and Extreme FC.
Tomorrow, Bullets Reserve take on Blue Eagles at the Kamuzu Stadium while Changalume Barracks will face Extreme FC at Balaka Stadium to wrap up the quarter-final ties.
FDH Bank plc senior marketing manager Ronald Chimchere yesterday said they were happy that the competition’s purpose of developing football from the grassroots and exposing talents is being achieved