Africa-Press – Malawi. The sixth edition of the Airtel Top 8 Cup offers Silver Strikers an opportunity to end their lengthy trophyless run, which is now in its third year. However, the Central Bankers face an uphill battle against the defending champions Mighty Mukuru Wanderers in the first of the two-legged quarterfinal matches.
The area 47 based side’ trophy drought has prolonged, far too long for a powerhouse like the two-time Airtel Top 8 Cup winners. They face Wanderers, a side that was also dumped out of the FDH Bank Cup by Mafco FC last week, now very eager to make amends and defend the Cup they won last season after beating their rivals, FCB Nyasa Big Bullets, who will play their quarterfinal match against Civil Service United next month.
Nonetheless, the unpredictable nature of knockout competitions presents Silver with yet another relatively realistic chance of claiming their first piece of major silverware since winning the FDH Bank Cup way back in 2020/21 season.
The Lilongwe based giants have an opportunity to take a major step towards this when they host the Lali Lubani side in the first leg to officially launch the competition at Bingu National Stadium on Saturday Now let’s preview the match…
This will be a third meeting between the two teams in this knockout cup, having met in the final of the first edition in which the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) sponsored team won the contest 10-9 on penalties following a goalless draw in the normal time.
In 2019, they met again in the last eight, in which Silver triumphed again, beating the Nomads 1-0 in the two-legged affair courtesy of a Khuda Myaba’ strike in the first leg. The Bankers proceeded to the semifinals where they defeated Masters Security through a lone goal from Micheal Tete.
In the final, they played Karonga United in what was dubbed a David v Goliath affair. Despite finding it very difficult to unlock the resilient side, Myaba was the hero of the day when his strike won it all for the Central Bankers, making them the most successful team in the competition with two titles.
Just like Bullets, they have played three Airtel Top 8 Cup finals, winning twice (in 2017 and 2019) and losing once to The People’s Team in 2021 season.
On the other hand, the Nomads were able to finally get their hands on the trophy in the fifth edition after they failed to win it in its inaugural year.
They were the losing finalists in 2017, semifinalists in 2018, quarterfinalists in 2019, and semifinalists in 2021, but won it in 2022 season after beating Bullets on penalties.
They will now face their biggest test yet against two-time winners on Saturday. There is a sense of optimism for the Blantyre based giants who were very successful when they last played at BNS in this competition.
However, the Nomads got a heavy beating when they faced Silver in the last four of FDH Bank Cup at the same venue in 2020/21 season in which they lost 3-0.
In the current campaign, the Lali Lubani boys got the better of Silver with a hard-fought 1-0 win at Kamuzu Stadium courtesy of a Francisco Mkonda’ second half goal. Current Form
The Area 47 based side gao into this match straight from their 1-0 home defeat to Dedza Dynamos in the league last Saturday, their third loss of the season in the Super League while Wanderers recovered from their two disappointing results in both the FDH Bank Cup and the Super League when they came from behind to beat Karonga United 2-1 on Wednesday.