Holders Be Forward Wanderers say they are treading cautiously on their approach to this afternoon’s Fisd Challenge Cup quarter-final clash against lower league side Hangover FC at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
Wanderers are favourites being the competition’s two-time champions and having beaten the ThumbsUp Southern Region Football Association (SRFA) Premier Division side 3-0 in last year’s Carlsberg Cup semi-final.
But Nomads coach Bob Mpinganjira yesterday said they risk putting their title defence bid in jeopardy if they bank on their statistical chances.
“Although we beat them in the Carlsberg Cup last year, they still proved to be a tough side. We have told the boys that this assignment is tougher than an encounter against a fellow TNM Super League side and we need to dig deep to secure victory,” he said.
However, Mpinganjira, whose side thrashed Masters Security 3-0 to qualify for the quarter-finals, said his charges are ready for the encounter.
He added that they have a full-squad save for Super League player of the month for October, Felix Zulu, whose availability is doubtful due to an ankle injury. This means the likes of captain Alfred Manyozo Junior, Francisco Madinga and Stanley Sanudi are available for selection.
Hangover coach McDonald Yobe, a former Wanderers player, said as the only lower league outfit in the last-eight stage, they have left no stone unturned to make the semi-final grade.
“The Nomads spoiled our mission of getting into the Carlsberg Cup final last year and we are geared to take them head-on so that they don’t spoil our Fisd Cup dreams,” said Yobe, whose side banks their hopes on individual skills of players such as Wisdom Mpinganjira, Asumani Julius and Emmanuel Lino.
Tomorrow, Nyasa Big Bullets, who are chasing their first ever Fisd Challenge Cup glory, clash against Silver Strikers in the other quarter-final at Kamuzu Stadium while 2017 champions Kamuzu Barracks will face Chitipa United at Mzuzu Stadium.
The last quarter-final will be played on Sunday at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe where Moyale Barracks take on Blue Eagles.
Meanwhile, local based national football team players have been released from the national team camp to fulfil their club commitments this weekend.