By: Andrew Cane Chilapondwa
First half goals from Muhamad Sulumba and Chiukepo Msowoya inspired Big Bullets to an emphatic 2-nil victory over cross-town rivals Mighty Wanderers in the inaugural Chifundo Shield Cup organized by Football Association of Malawi (FAM) at Civo Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
In front of thousands of football lovers, it only took Bullets 2 minutes for them to find the back of the net through Sulumba who volleyed past Nenani Juwaya in goals for the hosts, 1-0. Bullets were in control as they attacked wave after wave following a porous Nomads midfield which was led by Rafique Namwera and Patrick Gunde.
After a quarter hour mark, Bullets had an opportunity from a free-kick following a foul on Sulumba by Kondwani Lufeyo but Henry Kabichi failed to put the ball into the back of the net with the goalkeeper already beaten.
The Nomads were under siege as they failed to contain Sulumba who was causing havoc on the day. Bullets’ shot-stopper Enerst Kakhobwe was on holiday as Wanderers registered the only single shot at goal in the entire opening minutes of the match. Juwaya was forced into action just five minutes before the interval as he made two successful saves to deny Msowoya from increasing the lead. As the pressure continued to mount,
Wanderers conceded another goal with less than a minute to go before the break. A cross from Bashir Maunde found Msowoya who managed to beat Juwaya with a header, 2-0. Come the second half, Namwera paved way for Rafique Mussa for the Nomads who were desperate to reduce the arrears.
It was a changed performance from Wanderers who started the half on a very high note as Kakhobwe was now called into action to make some saves. Bullets introduced Mike Mkwate for Fischer Kondowe whilst the Nigerian Amos Bello and Peter Wadabwa came in for Jabulani Linje and Jimmy Zakazaka respectively. The Nomads were a better side in the half as Bello and Felix Zulu terrorized Bullets defence only to be denied by Kakhobwe who was very outstanding between the two sticks.
With less than 20 minutes to go, Bullets introduced Mussa Manyenje, Dave Ng’ambi and Chikondi Likwemba for Dalitso Sailesi, Sulumba and Maunde.
Wanderers’ Bello thought he has managed to find the back of the net only to see his header well cleared by John Lanjesi just before crossing the goal mouth. Bello was at it again, this time, around feeding Wadabwa who failed to tap in from a close range.
At the other end, Manyenje almost sealed it for the visitors but his attempt was well saved by Juwaya and after 90 minutes of play, it ended 2-0 in favor of Bullets.
Speaking to the media, Nomads coach Jack Mangwana admitted that his side gave Bullets too much space in the first half but was quick to draw some positives from his team’s second half performance.
His opposite number Franco Ndawa hailed his boys for defeating the Nomads but was not yet satisfied with his team’s overall performance.
Before the match, Malawians were urged to donate blood to the needy trough Malawi Blood Transfusion Service (MBTS) who partnered FAM.