All roads lead to Civo Stadium in Lilongwe where Nyasa Big Bullets have a date with Civil Sporting Club in what promises to be another blockbuster TNM Super League encounter this afternoon.
Despite the hectic schedule, Bullets have managed to keep up with the leading pack in the league, beating Silver Strikers 1-0 at a waterlogged pitch on Sunday to maintain a one point lead over fellow title chasers Be Forward Wanderers.
The People’s Team recorded its first win in Lilongwe from as many matches on the road in this campaign under very difficult circumstances.
The effort that came with that display against Silver Strikers will be put to the test in a season-defining week for the defending champions, starting this afternoon against Civil, followed by another clash with Moyale Barracks on Sunday in Blantyre.
Bullets have no choice but to win both games if they are to successfully defend the championship. These two matches, against vastly different opponents, one fighting for a top four finish and the other fighting for a top eight finish, will test Bullets on different levels.
The defending champions won the reverse fixture 6-0 at home, courtesy of a brace from Hassan Kajoke and lone strikes from Chiukepo Msowoya, Precious Sambani, Righteous Banda and Patrick Phiri.
But head coach Kalisto Pasuwa has advised his boys to anticipate a tough afternoon at Civo Stadium.
“We played against Silver Strikers at a waterlogged pitch but under these conditions, we need to adapt very quickly in order for us to get a result. I was very happy with how the boys fought for the three points on Sunday and they should also anticipate another tough afternoon at Civo Stadium,” Pasuwa said ahead of the encounter that will see a win for Bullets taking the tally to 64 points.
On playing under pressure, as Bullets are neck to neck with rivals Be Forward Wanderers, with the two sides separated by a point from 27 games, the Zimbabwean said his side will only concentrate on their remaining games.
“I have already said this to the players to focus on Bullets’ games only and we mustn’t focus on how Be Forward Wanderers are faring. We have to go out there and fight for our three points and we should do this till the end of the league. I have reminded the players that the journey is far from over and that we must keep on focusing on one game at a time,” he added.
On the hectic schedule, Pasuwa said Bullets should only focus on playing the games with intent, adding that at the rate of how the games are played, his boys should not expect to face an easy side.
“We are playing high intensity games because our opponents throw everything on us and the way these teams are playing, you would expect to see all the teams competing for the top position, but that’s part of the game and we will try to adapt very quickly to every situation we face but we shouldn’t relax because every opponent will come very hard on us.”
Pasuwa has every player on board apart from John Lanjesi, Precious Sambani and Sankhani Mkandawie who are nursing various injuries.
Returning back to Blantyre with Six-points would see Bullets urging closer to defending the championship as they will play the remaining two games at home, where they are unbeaten this season and the past seven years.
Bullets are currently enjoying a four-match winning streak in the league, having defeated Mighty Tigers 1-0 before thumping Blue Eagles 4-0 and went on to beat Kamuzu Barracks 2-0 and Silver Strikers 0-1.
The People’s Team has scored 58 goals and conceded 13, keeping four straight clean sheets in the last four games.