TP Mazembe officials are reported to have sneaked into the country last week to spy on FCB Nyasa Bullets ahead of their CAF Champions League second preliminary round first leg tie at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe this Sunday.
Bullets chief administration officer Albert Chigoga said although their Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) opponents communicated that they would arrive on Thursday, they are aware that they are already in the country.
He said: “It happens in football. We know they have been here since last week. We are aware of that.”
Chigoga said they have since put in place measures to ensure their players and training sessions are inaccessible to unauthorised persons.
Apart from spying on Bullets, Mazembe are also mobilising DRC nationals based at Dzeleka Refugee Camp in Dowa to cheer their team during the match.
Said Chigoga: “They have already enquired for the tickets through Ministry of Youth and Sports and we find that strange.
“We don’t know why they did that when they know that as the hosts, we are the ones selling the tickets. Maybe they didn’t want us to know that they are already in the country. If they want tickets, let them come to us.”
Soccer analyst Charles Nyirenda said in football, analysing your opponents through agents on the ground is part of match preparations.
He said: “Actually, spying on your opponents is normal. Nothing out of the ordinary. It’s a strategy for big teams to send such agents ahead of a match.”
However, Nyirenda said things turn for worse when such agents overstep their mission and try to influence opponents’ players.
He said: “Spying is fine, but if you now start using dirty tricks it becomes a problem. Bullets should just be alert. They should not allow anyone to have access to their players. They should tighten security.”
Meanwhile. TP Mazembe coach Lamien Ndiaye says the team is now ready for the Lilongwe clash after their 3-0 victory over Lubumbashi Sports on Sunday.
“It was the last match before their return to the CAF Champions League and this success gives optimism of the team’s performance against Bullets in Lilongwe,” the coach was quoted as having by the club’s website www.tpmazembe.com.
Bullets qualified for the second preliminary round 3-0 on aggregate, having won 0-2 away in Malabo, Guinea and 1-0 in the reverse fixture at home.
The CAF Champions League first round saw 44 teams out of 54 that entered the draw playing in two legs, on home and away basis, with the 22 winners joining 10 that were on bye to the second round.
If successful against the five- time champions in second round, Bullets will be among 16 teams that will qualify for the group stages.