As the 37th TNM Super League edition rolls into life this afternoon, some big guns have vowed to end champions FCB Nyasa Bullets’ dominance.
The People’s Team have won four titles on the bounce and begin their fifth straight title campaign against battered and bruised Silver Strikers at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe this afternoon.
Bullets have won the title 16 times overall, twice as much as Silver who come second. Absolute luxury.
In an interview on Friday, Silver coach Peter de Jhong, who will be his first competitive match on the domestic scene, said their sights are set on ending their 10-year title drought.
He said: “It won’t be easy to wrestle it from Bullets though, but we are determined and focused to win it.
“After nine weeks of preparations, I have changed lots of things; discipline, mentality and training methods. The atmosphere is good and I believe we are good to go.
“We respect Bullets, they are a good side, but we are prepared to fight.”
The Dutch tactician also dwelt much on fair play.
He said: “There is need for referees to take a firm line to ensure fair play. I watched last Sunday’s Charity Shield match between Bullets and [Mighty Mukuru] Wanderers and I observed that there was lack of fair play whereby in the course of the first goal, the linesman [assistant referee] had his flag up for off-side, but was over ruled.
“So, fair play needs to be enforced to ensure that victory is earned on merit.”
On his part, Blue Eagles coach Elia Kananji, whose side finished as runners-up last season after trailing Bullets by 10 points, said this time around they will engage an extra gear.
He said: “Bullets have had their time in the sun and it’s time to stop them.
“We will not depend on other teams to do it for us, we will do it ourselves. The approach this season will be different and I am optimistic of winning the title.”
The cops get their campaign underway against Red Lions tomorrow at Nankhaka in Lilongwe.
Nomads coach Mark Harrison also believes the People’s Team will get a good run for their money.
Said the Briton: “We are ready to fight all the way. Obviously, it’s not going to be easy to wrestle the title from Bullets.
“I would like to believe it will be a difficult season for them, not only from us but other teams as well like Silver Strikers. So, they [Bullets] will be stretched out.”
Wanderers, who have won the title six times, last campaign against Civil Service United at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre tomorrow.won it in 2017. The begin their
On his part, Bullets coach Kalisto Pasuwa said he is aware that other teams will be out to stop them in their tracks.
Said the Zimbabwean mentor: “We know that it’s not going to be easy because the other teams are also well prepared. But this is something we anticipated and we need to up the tempo.
“It’s not only the coming season, that has been the trend in the past seasons as well. So, it will boil down to our approach and focus.”
On today’s match, Pasuwa, whose side only lost one match last season against Mafco FC, said: “Not an easy match, Silver are a strong side and our matches against them are never easy, but we hope to start the season on a bright note.”
The centre of focus in today’s encounter will be former Bullets midfield workhorse Chimwemwe Idana, who is now in Silver’s camp, having been loaned out by Tanzanian Premier League side Mbeya City.
Last season the two teams played out a two-all draw in the second round while Bullets won the first round 3-1.
Football analyst Charles Nyirenda said other clubs will have to dig deep to dislodge Bullets.
He said: “The current situation paints a picture that other teams are not competitive enough.
“It is time they woke up and did something before the whole business of league supremacy battles turn into a farce with a single team domination monotony.”
TNM plc, sponsors of the flagship league announced the increase of the sponsorship package from K100 million to K150 million early this year, but the prizes remain unchanged and the champions will cart home K40 million. The runners-up will get K15 million while the third-placed.