gone are the days when meetings between Azam Tigers and Blantyre United were an ordinary routine, thanks to coach Leo Mpululaâ€™s switch to Tigers last campaign.
There will certainly be no love lost on Saturday, when Tigers challenge United at Kamuzu Stadium in a K20 million (about $80 000) Standard Bank Knockout Trophy preliminary round first leg match.
This will be the fourth meeting in all competitions between the Blantyre modest rivals since Mpulula left United.
In those grudge battles, United have dominated. They have won twice against one win for Tigers. Mpulula on Thursday insisted there was nothing special with this fresh encounter.
“I prepare normally. Why should I find it hard preparing for Blantyre United? It is a game that can go either way.” said Mpulula.
United coach Elia Kananji, who admitted that it is always an uphill task facing the Azam Tigers, said his charges had stepped up preparations.
Elsewhere, Big Bullets, who emerged number one in the voting by the bankâ€™s customers, travel to the bumpy Zomba Community Centre pitch for a date with Red Lions.
It will be a meeting of teams with contrasting fortunes.
The second legs of the preliminaries are set for the weekend of August 18 with the overall winners of the two fixtures joining the elite band comprising seeded holders, Blue Eagles, last yearâ€™s finalists Moyale Barracks, Super League champions Silver Strikers, their runners up Escom United. Others are Mighty Wanderers, Civo and Epac FC.