Silver Strikers, Blue Eagles in Airtel Top 8 semifinal

By Mabvuto Kambuwe

Malawi Police Service officers are responsible for providing security when the Reserve Bank of Malawi (RBM) is transferring cash to various destinations across the country.

This puts the safety of the country’s money squarely in the hands of the cops, such that it would be unthinkable to have the men in uniform going against their own job description by breaking into Central Bank.

But that will only happen when the policemen are on duty, and not on the pitch.
This afternoon, Blue Eagles will be out to break into RBM coffers as they aim at maintaining their Airtel Money account.

Eagles are up against Silver Strikers at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe where it will be seen if at all the bankers have deployed any tactic to foil the heist.

Silver will only be hoping that they have good network to call in their security men when the cops invade their territory today.

With a slot in the final at stake, fireworks are expected at the makeshift call centre.

Buoyed by a 1-0 win over Nchalo United in a TNM Super League match last weekend, Silver will be hoping to take a bold step towards defending the Airtel Top 8 whose inaugural edition they won 10-9 on post-match penalties against Be Forward Wanderers last season.

But the Area 30 law enforcers, who are coming from a 1-1 stalemate against Mafco in the top flight league last week, are also hoping to make history by booting the holders out of the competition which features the best eight teams in the previous season.

Silver Team Manager, Francis Songo, knows the threat Eagles pose in this encounter but remains optimistic that his charges would qualify for the final.

“We are taking the game seriously because as defending champions, teams will be coming hard on us. We have a mission to retain the cup we won last year.

“We know that they play good football but they will not match us on the pitch. We have great character in the team and the players trained hard for this game,” Songo said.

In all competitions this year, Silver have lost just one game (2-1) to Wanderers in a league opener whereas Eagles have lost twice to Moyale Barracks and Civil by 1-0 margins.

Sounding calm, Eagles Head Coach, Deklerk Msakakuona said he was also confident of going all the way to the final.

“It will be a tough match as Silver have talented players. But we also have quality in our squad. If we execute our game plan well, we will definitely come out victorious,” Msakakuona said.

The under-17 national team coach will be missing the services of two of his most trusted lieutenants –Dennis Nandolo and Dan Phiri- who are nursing injuries.

Mphatso Filimoni, who swapped dark blue for sky blue before the commencement of the current season, is expected to be the main man upfront for Silver as he takes on his former employers.

Jack Chiona, Newman Mwamsamale and Timothy Chitedze will also be the men to watch for the Central Bankers.

For all the arsenal that Silver have, Eagles have equally potent firepower in John Malidadi Junior, Captain Micium Mhone, Gregory Nachipo and Gilbert Chirwa.

On their way to the last four, Silver beat rivals Civil Sporting Club 2-1 on aggregate while Eagles dumped Mafco out of the competition through a 1-0 aggregate win.

The winner between Silver and Eagles will take on either Nyasa Big Bullets or Wanderers who play next weekend at Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe in another mouthwatering semifinal.

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