BLANTYRE– Silver Strikers forward, Khuda Muyaba, underlined his prowess in front of goal by becoming the first to score a goal in the 2019 Airtel Top 8 Cup as the prestigious trophy kicked off on Saturday at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre.
It was billed as clash of the giants from two big cities. As it turned out, it was an interesting, but far from spectacular affair. Silver, buoyed by their good history at Kamuzu Stadium, stepped into the pitch with confidence and a loss was no longer expected result for its followers. Much to people’s expectation, history did play its role in the field of play as the bankers controlled the proceedings from the word go.
Silver displayed fantastic football reducing the Mighty Be-forward Wanderers to mere spectators and a squadron without a commandant in the first 15 minutes. It was not the same Wanderers people saw tormenting Mzuni FC in the TNM Super League as they were completely outclassed in all departments by the Capital city giants.
With Young Chimodzi Junior and Levison Maganizo controlling the engine room, Wanderers’ Simeon Singa and Alfred Manjozo Junior proved to be asymmetrical to the task they were assigned. Danken Nyoni and Thuso Pipe operating in the wings of the bankers, were just too good for Wanderers’ defence of Francis Mlimbika, Stanly Sanudi, Dennis Chembezi and Harry Nyirenda. They came wave after wave in the Wanderers’ half.
In the 26th minute, the visitors’ hardworking and determination saw them being compensated with a beautiful goal from Khuda Muyaba, formerly of Moyale Barracks. A ball lofted over Richard Chipuwa’s hands was met by the talisman Muyaba who did no mistake by taking first time shot, sending the Mighty Wanderers supporters who came in large numbers into the cathedral of silence.
After the goal, the Rali Luban road boys came out of their slumber. Babatunde Adeboye and Ziko Nkanda were there to give strength and speed to the Nyerere attack, with support offered from the likes of Isaac Kaliati, Mike Kaziputa and Manyozo Junior through the middle. However, the FISD Cup winners failed to get an equalizer as the crosses from either flank were far too easily defended by Silver’s defence commanded by Nigerian Yuunus Sheriff.
1-0, the first half ended, much to the frustration of the Blantyre city giants fans, who thought their team would be leading before recess.
Come second half, Wanderers was completely a changed side. With the coming in of Francis Nkonda, Felix Zulu, the host started to took over control of the game. The central midfield that looked disorganized in the first half was now marvelous with Nkonda and Manyozo outclassing Chimodzi and Maganizo. Opportunities to show their value opened up but a combination of Nkanda and Babatunde in front proved so blunt beyond supporters’ expectation. Across the 90 minutes the home side failed to get a shot on target, and referee Alfred Azizi’s job was to declare victory in favour of the visitors after the five minutes added time.
In post match interview, Silver Strikers mentor Lovemore Fazili expressed delight for securing an away win.
“I have to thank my charges for performing according to instruction. It’s not easy to beat a big team like Mighty Be-Forward Wanderers at home. We will not relax because we know that Wanderers will come with revenge in second leg,” said Fazili.
His opposite number, Bob Mpinganjira, while expressing dissatisfactory at the team’s performance, assured supporters that his boys are capable of turning things around in the second leg.
“It’s painful to lose at home. But the battle is not over; we are a big team and anything can happen in the second leg,” he said.
However, angry Wanderers fans had no any good word for the technical panel as they asked them to step down, arguing the team has good players but the coaches have problems of fielding players.
“They must go! They have failed. We come here in large numbers only to be frustrated by their poor choice of players. Bob, Yasin and those in technical panel must go,” said Chairperson of Wanderers supporters.
Commenting on the opening match, Football Association of Malawi (FAM) Chief Executive Officer Alfred Gift Gunda, said he was impressed with the way the cup has started.
“As FAM, we are satisfied with the way the cup has started. We expect people to continue patronizing the coming matches as they have done today,” said Gunda.
He also hailed the Ichocho Power Security for manning the gates well.
“Today, as you can see there was order in all the gates. It is our sincere desire to make sure that all the loopholes are sealed so that the teams- the main stakeholders- should benefit. We want to take football to another level. Together we can make the game fabulous,” he said.
The two teams will meet again in the second leg of the cup. Having secured an away goal, Silver will likely go into the second leg with confidence.