Nyasa Big Bullets shine like a beacon in KwaZulu-Natal (KZN), Durban, as they started the 2021 Confederation of African Football – CAF Champions League with a significant win over Amazulu FC at Moses Mabhida Stadium in the Rainbow Nation.
The People’s Team started slowly as the host, Usuthu, quickly settled comfortably playing at home; but Bullets later gained confidence within 20th minute of the game and kept pressurising the hosts. The 26th minute proved decisive and priceless as the Palestinians’ long serving striker, Chiukepo Yakubu Msowoya scored after Benni McCarthy led Amazulu’s defence slept while on duty. A mix-up in the hosts’ defence cost them dearly when Msowoya scored with a yawning net.
The goal seemed to have aided Bullets to settle and gain confidence as they continued to play well but also making some unnecessary fouls which eventually led to Yamikani Fodya’s straight red card in the 43rd minute. It was a needless and careless tackle by Fodya who could have done better by avoiding the incident.
The Red Army’s gaffer, Callisto Pasuwa, showed some experience after this episode as he introduced Precious Phiri for the scorer Chiukepo Msowoya to defend the lone goal while ensuring that Phiri still helps the team making attacking inroads where possible. The first half ended with Bullets narrowly leading by a goal to nil.
In the second stanza, the visiting Bullets started with a defending orientation and Amazulu kept on attacking, pushing, pressing and trying all they could searching for the goals but to no avail as Richard Chimbamba brilliantly and fantastically guarded the sticks for Bullets with the help of his solid defence comprising Miracle Gabeya, Sankhani Mkandawire and Gomezgani Chirwa concretly shielding him well.
Experience paid dividends to Nyasa Big Bullets as Chimango Kaira, Henry Kabichi, Chimwemwe Idana and MaCFarren Mgwira jealously controlled the middle where Amazulu found it difficult to unlock it.
With a man down, the circumstances were undesirable for the Bullets men as for good part of the second half the People’s Team played under pressure; only that Usuthu failed to utilize their chances. Poor efficiency, lack of fire power and absence of the clinical touch in the final third were the hosts’ key technical shortcomings.
Callisto Pasuwa said that he knew Amazulu will be good technically hence his fielding experienced players and play in their own half so that they launch counter attacks to find goals and the game plan paid off. “We will open and attack at home so that we get more goals”, he added.
Benni McCarthy, Amazulu FC coach, lamented that his boys were technically incompetent upfront with failing to score from the clear chances they created to beat the ten men Nyasa Big Bullets.
“We have noted how they play, and we are going back to plan well for them in second leg.” He further lamented.
The decisive second leg of the CAF Champions League involving the two sides will be played on 18th September 2021 at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe. If Bullets manage to beat or hold Amazulu FC in Malawi and boot them out of the competition, it will repeat the history they made in 2003-2004 when they also sent out another South African outfit, Orlando Pirates, when they went on to reach the group stages of the glamorous club football competition in the continent.