Table-toppers Nyasa Big Bullets, who are yet to register a win in Lilongwe this season, face a severe test of the title credentials as the Kalisto Pasuwa side takes on third-placed Silver Strikers in the TNM Super League at Silver Stadium on Sunday.
Bullets have registered three straight wins in the TNM Super League, the latest one being a convincing 2-0 victory over Kamuzu Barracks on Wednesday afternoon.
Playing away from home, Bullets, who won the reverse fixture 3-1 courtesy of Hassan Kajoke, Precious Sambani and Chimwemwe Idana’s goals, will need to be at their level best against the Central Bankers if they are to defend the title.
A point above rivals and title contenders Be Forward Wanderers, head coach Pasuwa knows a trip to Lilongwe, where Bullets have not won any game this season, will not be easy.
On the other hand, the Zimbabwean is confident of getting the much-needed points and push further towards the title.
The mentor told the media on Friday during a pre-match press conference in Blantyre before the team left for Lilongwe that his side is ready for the crucial trip.
“We have been training very well for this trip and looking at the load of games, we have been trying to manage the recovery part of it and we have players who haven’t been playing and this time around, every player will be ready to play in Lilongwe.
“We would have loved to change the whole team to put in fresh legs, but you can’t change the whole team. Our opponents have been resting but we cannot complain because this is how the fixtures were arranged and we will not be the first ones to play more games within such a very short period of time.
“The best we can do is to go in and give it all so that by the end of everything, we should be returning back to Blantyre with all the points,” said Pasuwa whose side will also face Civil Sporting Club in another crucial league fixture on Wednesday.
Having registered two league losses and one draw in Lilongwe this season, Pasuwa is adamant that his side will finally break the jinx.
“Mentally wise, we have been talking to the boys to improve on the shortfalls we encountered during our two defeats in Lilongwe and we believe that they are now mature enough to handle pressure against Silver Strikers before facing Civil Sporting. We conceded silly goals [against Blue Eagles and Kamuzu Barracks in the first round], but again the boys are now matured to finish the season.”
In the 2019 season, the two teams have met thrice, with Bullets winning the league game 3-1 at home, while the Area 47 side were 2-1 victorious in the Bingu Ikhome Bonanza before dumping Bullets out of the FISD Challenge Cup with a 3-2 win through post-match penalties.
So far Bullets have collected 58 points from 26 games, seconded by Wanderers who have 57 points from the same number of games, while the Bankers are currently third in the league standings with 50 points from 28 games.
The People’s Team will be without John Lanjesi, Precious Sambani and Sankhani Mkandawire, who are on the sidelines due to injuries, despite the captain, who is recovering from a knee surgery, traveling with the team to Lilongwe.