Sunday, March 3, 2024

NBS Bank K15 Million Charity Shield Ready To Go

Kamuzu Stadium will this afternoon turn into a boiling pot of emotions, as domestic football powerhouses Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers face off in the NBS Bank K15 Million Charity Shield, officially kicking off the 2022 football season.

The two teams meet nearly three months after completing the 2020/2021 soccer season with a thrilling Airtel Top 8 cup final, which the People’s team won 5-4 on post-match penalties.

Much has happened in the two clubs’ camps, and the Charity Shield gives them the opportunity to assess the efficiency of their offseason deals.

The Bullets released 11 senior first-team players, including veteran striker Chiukepo Msowoya, defender Sankhani Mkandawire, and midfield workhorse Chimango Kaira, and failed to retain the services of defender Miracle Gabeya and first-choice goalkeeper Enerst Kakhobwe, who both refused to renew their contracts due to contractual disagreements.

The Champions, on the other hand, have only signed two players in the transfer market: defender Haji Wali from Silver Strikers and playmaker Mphatso Magaleta from demoted Ntopwa FC. They’ve also promoted four players from the reserve team.

Silver Strikers, on the other hand, have made their own transfer market moves, releasing defenders Haji Wali, Hebert Wayekha, and Trevor Kalema, as well as midfielder Mphatso Dzongololo and goalkeeper Brighton Munthali, who has signed a season-long loan with Blue Eagles.

Hardy Ng’andu, a former Chitipa United adventurous midfielder, has joined the Bankers, as has Chawanangwa Kaonga, a former Bankers striker who was released by his South African National First Division side.

Bullets are coming off a 2-1 defeat at the hands of newly promoted Sable Farming, in which coach Pasuwa rested the majority of his first-team players.

But Bullets assistant coach Peter Mponda downplayed the 2-1 loss to Sable ahead of Saturday’s encounter, claiming it was simply their first game of the season and the club was testing out new combinations.

“Let’s not read too much into today’s result as this was just our first match and our attention now shifts to Saturday as we face Silver. I know it will be a tough match but let me guarantee you that come Saturday afternoon we will give it all our best”, said Mponda.

Last season’s player of the season and team vice-captain Chimwemwe Idana, right full back Gomezgani Chirwa, and forward Babatunde Adepoju, who were all rested for the strength-testing match, will likely form the backbone of the People’s team today.

On the contrary, Kabwe’s team comes into this match fresh off a 2-0 friendly victory over Tigers FC, in which recently signed forward Chawangwa Kaonga scored a brace.

Acombination of Chawanangwa Kaonga and last season’s team top goal scorer Stain Davie will likely be a marvel to watch as Hard Ng’andu, who may be given a competitive debut, keeps the midfield boiling alongside Captain Taonga Chimodzi.

Both Nyasa Big Bullets and Silver Strikers are the country’s soccer giants and at the same time arch-rivals in the country’s top flight league

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