Pasuwa wins Malawi title again
Eddie Chikamhi-Senior Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWEAN coach Kalisto Pasuwa wrote a new piece of history yesterday when he led Nyasa Big Bullets to a fifth consecutive league title in Malawi’s TNM Super League.
Bullets, who have dominated the Malawian championship since Pasuwa’s arrival in 2018, reached the new milestone following a 1-1 draw against Dutchman Hendrik Pieter de Jongh’s Silver Strikers at Kamuzu Stadium yesterday.
Crucially for Pasuwa, who had a remarkable four-peat with Zimbabwean giants Dynamos between 2011 and 2014, this was a new record ninth league championship in as many seasons as coach.
His Bullets maintained a three-point advantage over closest rivals Silver Strikers, who needed to win by a big margin of at least 4-0 yesterday to overturn the tables.
Eventually, Big Bullets finished on 60 points while Silver Strikers were on 57. Mighty Mukuru Wanderers — who are under the guidance of British journeyman coach Mark Harrison — ended in third place with 55 points following the 1-0 defeat to 10-men Civo United in their last game yesterday.
Both de Jongh and Harrison have also coached in Zimbabwe before, with the Dutchman having stints at Highlanders and FC Platinum. Harrison coached CAPS United and Harare City.
Against the odds, Pasuwa emerged tops, having endured a difficult month in which they had gone four matches without winning and collecting a paltry three points from a possible 12.
As for De Jongh’s charges, three wins on the trot brought them to within three points of the champions. Their narrow 2-1 win over Kamuzu Barracks brought them back into the title contention on the same day that Bullets lost 1-0 to Dedza Dynamos, and enduring a four-match win-less run.
Silver Strikers still cherished hopes of staging an incredible comeback going into yesterday’s match.
The match was a tactical battle, with both teams showcasing their strengths.
Big Bullets’ Patrick Mwaungulu broke the deadlock in the 58th minute with a brilliant strike, connecting flawlessly with Ernest Petro’s cross.
The lead, however, was short-lived as Silver Strikers fought back with Patrick Macheso’s equaliser in the 71st minute, a perfect header from Chimwemwe Idana’s free-kick.
However, this was enough for the Bullets to maintain their slender three-point lead at the top of the table and clinch the championship.
“The boys know how far they have come from. How it was difficult for them to get where they are today, and I think, to the majority of the players, they have been waiting for this game . . . ” Said Pasuwa before the kickoff yesterday.
“I am proud of my players. They have been fantastic in every game they have played. They have been fighting. If we remember the situation that we have been in, I would applaud my players for the job well done. It’s not easy to play five to six games within 12 days. It’s very difficult.
“And also considering the type of pitches that we have in Malawi, these frequent travels, more than 900 kilometres away from home. I think we had so many trips that we have travelled with the players, but they never bowed down. People might be talking about results, but the situation that we were in was very difficult for one to get results.”