Another weekend, another derby. After enjoying the Blantyre derby between Nyasa Big Bullets and Mighty Wanderers last weekend, football lovers’ focus shifts to the Lilongwe derby as defending champions Silver Strikers and Civil Service (Civo) United clash in Airtel Top 8 the semi-finals at Bingu National Stadium.
While the Central Bankers are seeking a second silverware this season, having won the FDH Bank Cup recently, the Civil Servants are determined to get into the final for the first time and have a chance to quench their six-year trophyless season since winning the Standard Bank FAM Cup in 2015.
On the other hand, Silver are chasing their third Airtel Top 8 honours.
Silver marched into this last-four after ousting TN Stars 5-1 on aggregate in two-legged quarter-final while Civo booted out Karonga United 3-1 on aggregate.
Ironically, both teams are enjoying a rich vein of form.
Silver have won all their last eight games in all competitions with 22 goals scored and only one conceded while Civo have registered six wins and two draws, scoring 13 and letting in two.
Head-to-head, Silver has beaten Civo twice, drawn twice and lost one in their last five meetings.
However, the game appears to be a balanced affair on paper as the two sides drew one-all in the last meeting five months ago. Civo triumphed 2-1 in the Super League first round in November last year.
In pre-match interviews, both Silver assistant coach McDonald Yobe and Civo head coach Franco Ndawa said they expect a tough match.
Said Yobe: “It will be a difficult match. Civo beat us in the first round of the league and they have been in good form of late.
“But we are the defending champions and we are determined to fight all the way. Our players are also looking sharp.”
The Central Bankers bank on their individual skills of players such as Super League Player-of-the-Season candidate Blessings Tembo, Tawonga Chimodzi, Zebron Kalima and Stain Davie.
On his part, Civo coach Franco Ndawa said everything is in place as they search for their first appearance in the Airtel Top 8 final.
He said: “With God, everything is possible and we are geared to get into the Airtel final for the first time. Silver is a very hard-to-beat side, but with unity of purpose, nothing can stop us from achieving our goal.
“It will be a cracker, but we will fight tooth and nail.”
Captain Lanken Mwale, revitalised forward Muhammad Sulumba, Innocent Tanganyika and Binwell Katinji vcarry the hopes for Civo.
The winner of this semi-final battle will take on Bullets in the final on December 18. Bullets thrashed Wanderers 4-1 in the other semi-final at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre last Saturday.