Wanderers Grab Airtel Top 8 Title
By: Twaha Chimoka
T he Mighty Mukuru Wanderers won their first trophy in four years on Saturday, December 17, 2022, after last winning one in 2017.
After playing out a goalless draw for the entire 90 minutes of action, the Lali Lubani outfit defeated their sworn rivals, the Nyasa Big Bullets Football Club, in post-match penalties, becoming the first team to play all of the tournament’s matches without conceding.
Wanderers, who looked like a matchchanged and organized side under a new coach, Briton Mark Harrison, managed to frustrate their opponents by ensuring that their dangerous players like Patrick Mwaungulu, Chimwemwe Idana, and Gomegzan Chirwa did not manage to cross the ball to their hitman
Babatunde Adepoju, who managed to grab just one shot on target for the entire 90 minutes.
In a game of fewer chances, neither of the two teams dominated the proceedings, as Wanderers also registered just one short on target for the match, with Bullets only hitting two.
In the shootouts, Bullet’s Kesten Simbi was the victim of the day as his penalty went over the crossbar as Wanderers converted all the penalties through Stanley Sanudi, Francis Mkonda, Miracle Gabeya, Peter Cholopi, and Vincent Nyangulu, with Bullets finding the net through Hassan Kajoke, Yamikani Fodya,
and Babatunde Adepoju.
After the match, the losing coach, Calisto Pasuwa, congratulated his counterpart for showing hunger and desire to win the cup and also congratulated his team for the great season they have had and their determination throughout the season.
“It’s tough to finish the season with a defeat, but credit should go to the Nomads for the game they had
today, they closed us down, they were very solid and organized in defense, and they showed their hunger and determination to win this trophy, We say congratulations to them and well done to my players for the season they have had; I did not expect them to be this competitive considering that this was the first season for the majority of the youngsters,” said Pasuwa.
In his reaction, Harrison said he was delighted with the win.
“I am very pleased with this result; the boys played as planned, and after watching the Bullets play nearly three times this year, we devised a strategy to neutralize them, which worked for us, and in the end, we are champions after a long period of time; we hope to build on this win and see what happens next season,” Harrison explained.
This was the first trophy for Wanderers since the club turned into a company under the new ownership of businessman Thomson Mpinganjira, who challenged the team to take the title from their neighbors.
Wanderers’ win meant that no team has ever defended the trophy since it was launched in 2017. So far, four teams have been crowned champions: the Silver Strikers twice, the Blue Eagles once, and the Bullets once.