BLANTYRE—All roads led to Kamuzu Stadium on Saturday as football fans were kin to witness the coronation of the people’s team, Nyasa Big Bullets, as champions of the TNM Super League for the 2020/2021 season.
Though it was a foregone conclusion that Bullets were the champions, their encounter against the most improved team Karonga United turned the Kamuzu Stadium into a boiling pot of emotions. The visitors scored two goals in the first half, sending the vocal supporters of Bullets into the cathedral of silence.
Karonga’s 2-0 lead raised the hype of the ceremonial game as lifting the trophy with a loss was to be a humiliation on the part of Bullets. Bullets rested many regular players to pave way for other players who have been warming the bench throughout the season. Dalitso Sailesi, Rabson Chiyenda, Nelson Kangunje, Anthony Mfune started the game on request by supporters.
But sensing danger, tactician Callisto Pasuwa replaced Kangunje and Sailesi with Ernest Petrol and Henry Kabichi to control the engine room where the visitors through Clement Nyondo, Mphatso Kamanga, William Mwalwimba and Josiah Duwa completely turned the champions into spectators.
In the second half Bullest also brought in Stanly Billiat for Mfune. The coming of the trio made things very difficult for Northen region giants.
In the 46th minute, Biliat made a brilliant run to the left flank and delivered a dangerous ball into the box but Mwendepeka was very quick to snatch the ball away from Kajoke for a corner which was cleared by Songa.
In the 53rd minute, Bullets’ floodgates opened. Biliat burst onto an in-perfect through ball by Idana before sending a cross into the box which met Kajoke to head past Yona Milanzi in goal for the visitors, 1-2.
Another exchange of passes between Idana, Petro and Biliat found Chirwa who was quick to shoot at goal but his effort was well blocked by Songa for a corner.
It was now Bullets against Karonga United’s back four with some series of counter attacking football architected by Idana and Petro.
In 55th minute, Kabichi had an opportunity to capitalize on a set piece but his shot went straight at Milanzi who had an easy task at hand as no one in a red shirt was anywhere near his area.
But on 58th minute, the match was level.
A clearance from Milanzi saw the visitors losing possession to Idana who made a quick decision to find Nkhoma in a one on one situation and the youngster made no mistake by slotting the ball past the advanced Milanzi, 2-2.
Moments later, Milanzi was forced into making a save which denied Kajoke from doubling his tally.
Despite pressing for more goals, Karonga United was able to ease the pressure and start taking the game back to the hosts.
In quick succession, the visitors, through Kamanga and Duwa forced Chiyenda into making quick saves when Bullets’ defence was caught napping in the line of duty.
In 62nd minute, Nyondo was replaced by Thoko Harrison for the visitors.
As the game was progressing, Kamanga had another opportunity to restore his side’s lead but his well taken freekick just missed Chiyenda’ upright with an inch.
Chiyenda was called into action again in the 73rd minute when he produced a fantastic save to deny Mwalwimba from scoring after he was found unmarked in the box by Songa’s corner kick.
At the other end, Kajoke made a brilliant run to the far left before sending a million-dollar cross into the box which found Nkhoma unmarked and the forward did everything right by producing a powerful header which was well saved by Milanzi in an unbelievable circumstance.
In the 86th minute, Khumbo Msowoya came in for Gabinho Daudi for the visitors.
With the match at 2-2, Karonga United would have wished the game to end that way and that would have seen them collecting four points over Bullets following the first round 1-0 win at Karonga Stadium.
But Bullets were able to find the winning goal in the 90th minute through Kajoke.
A brilliant run by Nkhoma into the box left Mwalwimba with no choice but to take down the forward, forcing Kaphamtengo to point straight at the spot and Kajoke stepped up to put the ball beyond Milanzi’s reach, 3-2.
With four minutes added to the clock, it was now a dancing time for the champions with passes throughout the minutes to collect all the points on the last day of the league.
At the end of the match, Idana was named Man of the Match.
The win sees Bullets winning the title for the third time in a row and 15th title to their name.
The People’s Team has finished eight points below the 70-point mark set in the 2019 season.
The result means Karonga United failed to dislodge Civil Sporting Club from fourth position as they have finished on fifth position with 46 points.
At Mpira Stadium, Be Forward Wanderers and Moyale Barracks played out to a goalless draw.
The Nomads have finished the season on third position with 55 points whilst the Mzuzu based Soldiers have completed the season on sixth position with 46 points.