Africa-Press – Malawi. The TNM Super League will be in full swing this weekend with two matches each on Saturday and Sunday before four games on Wednesday. With the current log leaders Nyasa Big Bullets dropping two points at home to Kamuzu Barracks last week, both Blue Eagles and Mighty Wanderers reduced the gap to nine and eleven points respectively and the two teams would want to close the gap further this weekend when they play at home to Moyale Barracks and Mighty Tigers respectively considering that Bullets will play two crucial away from home games.
On Saturday, Eagles, straight from their 1-0 victory away to Karonga United last week, will play host to Moyale Barracks who also registered a 3-1 win over struggling Mighty Tigers on Saturday. A win for the area 30 based side will see them closing the gap between themselves and Bullets to six but The People’s Team will have an opportunity to take it back to nine points if they can beat Rumphi United on Sunday.
However, Eagles will have to be at their level best to dismantle the Mzuzu based Soldiers who will be vying for all the points to keep on climbing up the standings in their quest for a good position in the league.
At Chitowe Stadium, a highly rejuvenated Mafco FC will welcome struggling Ekwendeni Hammers in another epic league encounter this season. The Salima based Soldiers registered a memorable 3-1 victory at Silver Stadium over Silver Strikers, handing The Central Bankers their first home league defeat this season.
Already guaranteed a top 8 participation, the military side will be aiming to close down the gap between themselves and top four teams, with only two points separating them with a fourth placed Kamuzu Barracks who have 27 points from 16 games.
With KB and Silver Strikers not in action, Stereo Gondwe’s side has an opportunity to climb up to fourth in the standings if they beat Edson Kadenge’s side but they have to up their game as it is always dangerous to play struggling teams especially in the final half of the season.
The game will also be a turning point for Hammers who finished in 9th position in the 2020/21 season but now are struggling to get results and are just two points above the relegation zone with 14 points from 16 games. On Sunday, relegation threatened Rumphi United will welcome Bullets in what is likely to be the toughest match for both teams.
Stuck in the bottom three with 10 points from 16 games, The Leopards of Chikulamayembe will have to be at their level best in order to beat the only side which is yet to test a defeat and currently topping the standings with 42 points from the same number of games.
If we take a look at goals conceded by Kalisto Pasuwa’s side, the hosts will require a turnaround of fortunes of some sorts, following less-than-satisfactory results in the domestic league which has seen them struggling to get results and are winless in their last 13 games.
Against a formidable Bullets side, they will need more than lady luck for them to get something out of the match. But Bullets will also need to approach the match with care. In the current season, they are the good travellers with six wins out of the eight games but history doesn’t favor them when it comes to playing against teams struggling to survive.
In the 2015 season, their only defeat of the season came at the hands of Airborne Rangers who won 2-1 before being relegated to Premier Division. In 2019, Mponela United, which got relegated after the end of the season, frustrated Bullets with a goalless draw at Civo Stadium.
At Kamuzu Stadium, Wanderers will be striving to cut the gap further when they host another relegation candidate in Tigers FC. The 2017 league winners are third with 31 points after claiming a 2-0 victory over TN Stars in Kasungu last week. For them to remain in contention, they have to collect all the points against a side which gave them a tough time in the first round fixture which ended goalless.
As for Tigers, if they don’t want to find themselves in a similar situation which saw them fighting relegation last season then they must start registering results.
Trevor Kajawa’s side are winless in their last nine league matches and are just three points above safety after they got hammered 3-1 by Moyale Barracks last week. Another defeat will surely push them further to the relegation zone.
On Wednesday, Red Lions will welcome TN Stars at Balaka Stadium. The Zomba based side started the league on a very high note and were amongst top four teams after five matches but , just like their opponents, are struggling to get results and they are only five points from safety following yet another defeat at the hands of Civil Service United last week.
As for TN Stars, points would matter more if they are to move out of the relegation zone. From a team which finished in the top 8 last season to a team which is now fighting for the survival, the Kasungu based side should turn things around and this fixture, coming a week after they lost to Wanderers last week, might just offer them an opportunity to kickstart their survival campaign.
At Mzuzu Stadium, Ekwendeni Hammers will entertain Bullets in another exciting fixture. Both teams are tactical in nature as witnessed during the first round encounter which Bullets won 3-1. It will be a match in which three points would be important to both teams, with Hammers striving to start winning and possibly stay away from the relegation zone whilst Bullets will go for the kill in order to maintain their lead at the top, knowing pretty well that Eagles and Wanderers are still in contention for the league title.
In other matches, Tigers and Sable Farming, two struggling teams, will battle it out for points, with the visitors looking for all the three points in order to start pushing their way out of the bottom three.
The Chiradzulu based side is 15th with 11 points from 16 games after losing 2-1 at home to Dedza Dynamos last week. For them to keep their survival hopes alive, they must surely beat Kajawa’s side which is also not safe from relegation. In the first round, Sable Farming won 2-0 at Mulanje Park Stadium.
The final match of week 17 will see Kamuzu Barracks, buoyed from their 1-1 draw with Bullets in Blantyre, visiting Civil Service United at Civo Stadium. KB are fourth with 27 points from 16 games whilst Civil are ninth with 20 points from the same number of games.