Be Forward Wanderers yesterday signed off their 2017 TNM Super League title-winning campaign with a 1-1 draw against Red Lions at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe where they were officially crowned champions.
It was a defining image of ecstasy when the Nomads captain Joseph Kamwendo was presented with the trophy by director of sports in the Ministry of Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development, Jameson Ndalama, as Wanderers basked in the sunshine of glory after exorcising the ghost that had haunted them for 11 years.
In the background, the beaming faces of celebrating nyerere told a story of the moment. They exploded in a frenzy of joy as they turned the stadium into a theatre of celebrations.
The Nomads convoy left the stadium at snail’s pace as their enthusiastic fans clad in their blue, white and orange colours, celebrated the significant feat.
Wanderers have finished the season with 69 points, two ahead of their runners-up and age-old rivals Nyasa Big Bullets. On the other hand, Lions have finished ninth in the 16-team league with 37 points.
While there wasn’t much at stake for the Nomads—except for pride— having sealed the title the previous weekend with a 4-1 emphatic win over Masters Security FC, on the other hand the Malawi Defence Force (MDF)-sponsored Lions needed a win to secure a top eight finish to participate in the Airtel Top 8.
Lions appeared on course to achieve that target when Kumbukani Mwambene broke the deadlock with a hard and low shot which gave Nomads’ goalkeeper Richard Chipuwa no chance just a minute before halftime.
However, the Lali Lubani Road outfit came into the second half with renewed purpose and Mike Kaziputa levelled the score in the 48th minute when he connected home Kamwendo’s fabulous free-kick for the two teams to share the spoils.
Towards the end, Lions were dealt a blow when Mwambene was shown the red card for a crude tackle on Kaziputa.
Prior to the match, the champions were accorded a guard of honour by the Zomba-based soldiers as they entered the pitch, triggering a huge cheer from the fans who came in large numbers to witness the Nomads’ special occasion.
Nomads coach Yasin ‘Tich’ Osman said his team deserved the title having played like champions from start to finish.
“It has been all hardwork and it was worthy it. The players have been exceptional and the executive committee, trustees, sponsors and, of course, the fans were all wonderful. We all pulled in the same direction and in the end, we got what we wanted,” he said.
Commenting on the game, Osman said they expected a tough match because Lions were aiming for a top-eight finish.
His Lions counterpart Nelson Chirwa, while congratulating the Nomads for the triumph, said the officiating team failed to take a firm line.