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Bullets, Tigers promise to upset quarterfinal first leg losses: Airtel Top 8 Cup

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The battle for the inaugural Airtel Top 8 Cup's semifinal slots continues this weekend with Nyasa Big Bullets and Azam Tigers promising to upset the quarterfinal first leg 0-1 and 2-0 defeats to Silver Strikers and Mighty Be Forward Wanderers, respectively.

Silver players celebrate first leg win over Bullets Silver players celebrate first leg win over Bullets


Four teams-Moyale Barracks, Kamuzu Barracks, Wanderers and Silver, took major steps in the tournament last weekend when they beat their opponents in the quarterfinal first legs.


Mafco FC is the only side that failed to utilize home ground advantage when they lost to 2-0 to their brothers in arms, Moyale Barracks, widely known as the Lions of Kaning'ina, at Chitowe Stadium in Dwangwa, Nkhotakota.


The Mzuzu based side scored through Dan Katunga and Boy boy Chima to bagged two vital away goals.

Bullets set to upset first leg 0-1 defeat to the Bankers


Silver moved a step ahead of Blantyre based side, Bullets, thanks to Victor Limbani's 85th minute goal at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe while Kamuzu Barracks crashed Blue Eagles 4-2 at Civo Stadium with Mighty Be Forward Wanderers moving two steps ahead of Azam Tigers when they claimed 2-0 win over 'Ana Akumpanda' at Balaka Stadium on Sunday.


Three second leg tiers will be played on Saturday while the quarterfinal four involving Bullets and Silver will be played on Sunday.


Moyale will host Mafco at Mzuzu Stadium, Azam Tigers and Wanderers will play at Kalulu Stadium in Nchalo, Chikwawa. Blue Eagles, who managed to bagged two crucial away goals, will host Kamuzu Barracks at Nankhaka Stadium with Bullets and Silver completing the battle at newly constructed 5000 capacity Mulanje Park Stadium.


The Bankers won the first leg 1-0


Initially, the match involving Bullets and Silver was supposed to be played at the Zomba Community Centre Ground (ZCCG), but both sides asked the Football Association of Malawi (FAM) shift the game to Mulanje Park Stadium.


According to FAM Competitions Manager, Gomezgani Zakazaka, last week Bullets wrote the football governing body indicating that ZCCG was their preferred venue but the People’s Team wrote FAM again on Monday changing their venue to Mulanje Stadium.


Gomezgani Zakazaka: Each team is supposed to play at home


”As FAM we have granted that request because at this level (quarterfinals) each team is supposed to play their home match at their preferred venue,” said Zakazaka.


Zakazaka also expressed satisfaction with level of competition, observing that the matches were so exciting and lots of goals scored. Eleven goals were scored in the first tiers of the tournament slogan, making football alive.


"We expect to see exciting matches again and above all we expect more goals. We must also thank the fans for observing fair play and we expect the same during the return legs as well as the semi-finals and final," he said.


On Sunday's match, the Fam Competitions Manager said they will take precaution measures to ensure that everything should end well.


"We look forward to having a successful match on Sunday," he added.


Meanwhile, Bullets, who have failed to score a goal in three competitive games this season, have promised to upset the first leg 1-0 loss to the Bankers.


The promise follows a crisis meeting the team held over the team's poor performance this season.


Bullets General Secretary Albert Chigoga assured the People's Team followers of positive results that will emphatically take them through to the semi-finals.

"We had time to interact with the coaching panel in order to identify areas that we are not doing well. We also took the trouble to speak to the boys to be focused and determined. We are pretty aware that our supporters are unhappy, but they should expect good results this time around. They should travel to Mulanje in large numbers," said Chigoga, adding that all players are available for selection.

While Patrick Kulemeka, coach for Azam Tigers, described the return match as tricky and an uphill task, but said they are ready to upset the first leg 2-0 legs.


Wanderers Team Manager Steve Madeira assured the team's followers defenders Lucky Malata and Francis Mlimbika, who were carried off the pitch, did not sustain serious injuries in their Airtel Top 8 first leg quarter final win against Azam Tigers.


Madeira said the duo could feature in the second leg encounter at Kalulu Stadium.


Malata suffered muscle skeletal pain and he was replaced by Foster Namwela, while Mlimbika paved the way for Ted Sumani due to a soft tissue injury.

The following is the full fixture:

Saturday 20 th May 2017

Blue Eagles vs. Kamuzu Barracks @ Nankhaka Stadium

Moyale vs. MAFCO @ Mzuzu Stadium

Azam Tigers vs. Be Forward Wanderers @ Kalulu Stadium

Sunday 21 st May 2017

NMC Big Bullets vs. Silver Strikers @ Mulanje Stadium

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