Mighty Wanderers, who ended 4th in 2022 TNM Super League season, have picked 6 points from two of their opening games having emphatically beaten Red Lions 3-0 on Saturday through a hat-trick from Christopher Kumwembe.
Kumwembe was voted Man of the Match for his feat that saw the Nomads going two points ahead of last season’s champions, Nyasa Big Bullets, who beat MAFCO 4-0 on Sunday.
The Bullets — who drew 1-1 with 5th-placed Silver Strikers on their opening match — are runners up and tie on 4 points with Dedza United, on third place; the Bankers on 4th and Mighty Tigers on 5th having been separated by goals scored and conceded.
Wanderers, whose next match is against Ekwendeni Hammers this Saturday at Kamuzu Stadium, earned their first 3 points a fortnight ago after beating Civil Service United 2-0.
The champions will travel to Lilongwe to face debutantes Extreme FC at Civo Stadium while 3rd placed Dedza United travel up North to meet Chitipa United.
Silver Strikers, who beat Blue Eagles 1-0 on Saturday at Nankhaka Stadium in Lilongwe, host Red Lions at Bingu National Stadium as 5th-placed Mighty Tigers are up against Civil Service United at Mpira Stadium.
Meanwhile, the champions’ coach, Kalisto Pasuwa is quoted by nyasabigbullets.com as saying they probably will not find it easy to defend the TNM Super League despite their emphatic 4-0 win over MAFCO.
They scored through a brace each from Alick Lungu and Lanjesi Nkhoma and the Bullets head coach said the majority of teams, especially fellow title contenders, beefed up their squads to end his side’s dominance — hence warning his charges not to expect an easy ride in the 2023 season.
“It will not be an easy ride this year because most of the teams beefed up their squads for Bullets,” he is quoted as saying by nyasabigbullets.com. “It’s the standards that we set as Bullets.
“We need to pull up and go another level for us to be a step ahead of them,” he said, adding that MAFCO had a good game plan but after some tactical changes in the second half, they made the difference for The People’s Team.
“Just like the last game we played them in Dedza [in the second round of the 2022 season], they came on us, they pressed us and they were more physical hence dominating in the first half.
“In the second half, we changed, we were very offensive because we put two strikers to high-press their centre-backs and we were no longer allowing them to hit those long balls. Very outstanding performance from my boys in the final half.”
The Bullets went off to a good start after beating their arch rivals Mighty Wanderers in the season opener, the NBS Bank FAM Charity Shield three weeks ago and on why the team haven’t picked up the steam Pasuwa told nyasabigbullets.com that he is yet to get the right combinations since he has just assembled a new team.
“Remember, we are a team where we are rebuilding every time. One time, we build a team and the next minute, five players are gone. If you look at the team, the majority of the players that were playing regularly are no longer with us and we have plenty of new guys in the team, so if you can see, combinations are a problem, we need more time to have everything in right place.”
Meanwhile, Silver Strikers expatriate coach, Pieter De Jongh hailed his charges for their great performance against Blue Eagles, telling journalists that it reaffirms the team going on the right track.
“That’s two matches and four points against the number one and two from last season,” he told journalists in post match interview. “We had a great performance today, good focus, mentality and discipline, very strong on the ball and our opponent didn’t play football it looked like they played rugby.”