Malawi’s representatives in the Confederation of African Football (CAF) club competitions Masters Security and Nyasa Big Bullets have a date with destiny as they face their opponents tomorrow in return legs.
Masters Security host Uganda’s Proline FC at Bingu Stadium in Lilongwe in the CAF Confederation Cup while Nyasa Bullets take on Zimbabwe’s FC Platinum in the Champions League in Bulawayo.
Profile FC arrived yesterday at 2am for the game, clearing the uncertainty surrounding the match with the impending Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) demonstrations likely to disrupt airports and border ports between August 26 and 30.
In an interview yesterday, Masters Security general secretary Christopher Njeula said the team is set for the game despite losing 3-0 away and the in-house squabbles over players’ salaries and game bonus payment.
“Playing here at home gives us an advantage because the 12th player [supporters] are important to raise the morale of the team,” he said.
Njeula also downplayed the players’threats that they might not give their all in the game because they are yet to be paid.
“Allowances and salaries are supposed to be private issues, but I would like to assure the public that this will be sorted out before the game. They will play the game with confidence and highly motivated,” he said.
Masters players revealed that they were demoralised after they were given K2 000 as bonus for their away game instead of the K30 000 they were promised by owner and sponsor Alfred Gangata.
Team captain Eneya Banda confirmed the development, but appealed to the players to be calm as the executive is working on the payment.
“I urge my team-mates to be calm because authorities have pledged to give us something,” he was quoted as saying.
Coach Abbas Makawa is also upbeat that they could defy the odds to progress.
“We can beat them. It’s not a tough side. We lost by that margin because we did not prepare well for the game,” he said.
In an interview yesterday, Proline leader of delegation Ronnie Kalema, was cautious.
“The team is very good. We can’t underrate them. They lost by that margin maybe it was just a bad day in office,” he said.
Kalema also said they made the trip after monitoring the political impasse following the May 21 Tripartite Elections.
He said: “We know that there’s conflict and we are aware of what is going on, but we thought that was not a reason for us not to come.
“That’s the beauty of football otherwise there would not have been football in Sudan.”
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) communications director Gomezgani Zakazaka said the association is doing everything possible to ensure that there is enough security for the visitors.
He said: “We are handling the game as we normally do with any international game regardless that they are playing a club.
“Being an international match, it’s the FAM that is responsible for all CAF and Fifa matches. We just have to reinforce security as we did with Bullets two weeks ago.”
Commenting on the change of venue, Zakazaka said Civo Stadium is not a CAF or Fifa certified venue, therefore, it cannot host such an international game.
“We only have Kamuzu Stadium and Bingu Stadium as CAF and Fifa certified venues. So there was no way the Masters Security and Proline game could have been played at Civo Stadium in a CAF competition.
Bullets coach Callisto Pasuwa was also upbeat about the game after a training session yesterday at National Independence Stadium in Harare.
“So far, so good. We are trying our best. Today [yesterday] we trained on the grass pitch and we could see that some of our players were heavy.