Heading into today’s match against Mighty Wanderers at Kamuzu Stadium, Blue Eagles had one thing in mind: To fly again in the TNM Super League next season or let go its over twenty year stay in the top tier. Wanderers had all eyes on the permutations to also challenge for the league title, but the Gerald Phiri Snr side thumped the Nomads 3-1, to earn their survival and mean that Nyasa Big Bullets defend the league.
The loss to Wanderers means that its outside chances of claiming the league have come to a halt.
The first goal came flowing after the 13th minute when towering forward Gilbert Chirwa capitalized on defensive errors from Yunus Sherriff and Peter Cholopi to hit the ball past inform Richard Chipuwa for the visitors to lead.
But it took just a minute for the Nomads to restore parity as in similar fashion, as defenders Ganizani James and Jacob Robert failed to keep the lines only for usual scorer Vincent Nyangulu to equalize.
For, now, it meant that both sides were in it to savage the sought three points.
No wonder, Phiri was largely seen off the technical area showering his charges that the needed a win and nothing about it. But for Bob Mpinganjira, the league campaign would well quite posit a rivalry taking point to be taken into the last day of the season.
After a slight waiver of fans allowed into the stadium, fans from both ends thronged the match venue. Others from the Bullets side, drumming up support for the Area 30 side and Wanderers fans, stating otherwise to send a strong statement.
It was perhaps those uproars that saw the Eagles following a sustained three-minute-long exchange of passes from Gaddie Chirwa. Laurent Banda for Chirwa’s lowly taken shot beat an idle Chipuwa in goals for the hosts.
Wanderers had now tried to spring another quick response but forward Nyangulu kept hit the goal post twice after being set up Vitumbiko Kumwenda and blossoming starlet Wisdom Mpinganjira.
Not contented by the gap, the Eagles struck again and this time through Chifuniro Mpinganjira who banked on an erroneous back from Sherriff to score past Chipuwa, just before the stroke of halftime.
In the second half, coach Mpinganjira pulled out a rather tired looking Peter Wadabwa for Juma Yatina, who made immediate impact but Robert and James twice cleared his attack for goalkeeper John Soko to be at ease.
After a rather a silent play until the 70th minute, goal scorer for Blue Eagles Mpinganjira was taken off for experienced John Malidadi Jnr who had an intense battle fighting for balls with Alfred Manyozo and Kumwenda in the midfield.
Wanderers had to thank Chipuwa to prevent a white wash when he rose the highest to parry a deflected shot by Malidadi.
The writing was now on the wall, for the Eagles as all the technical panel and players outside the field stood out the last ten minutes to hail their splendid league survival performance until when Keston Mnenula blew for full time.
The last action, sent the stadium into two frenzies: One that the traditional ganyu supporters had Bullets winning the league and for Blue Eagles it was all survival to celebrate for.
If the Eagles had not won, it would mean that Chitipa United instead would survive following their spirited 2-1 win over Red Lions at Karonga Stadium thanks to goals from Emmanuel Muyira and Peter Mughogho.
The sides both finish with 32 points, but the northern region outfit gets relegated with the Eagles having a better goal-difference of minus 9, having scored 23 and conceded 33.
Phiri who is the Eagles coach was quick to admit that the side had gone through tough times and need to regroup to deal with all challenges.
”Well, I would want to talk about issues, including my forced leave this season. The bottom line is we have survived and need to look ahead of the new TNM Super league season” he said.
On his part, Mpinganjira said ” We (the Nomads) met a side geared at surviving. They fought harder than us”.
Bullets now lead the standings with 59 points ahead of the last match against Karonga United with both second-placed Silver Strikers (55 points) and the Nomads (54 points. Who should face Moyale Barracks in their last match) having no chance at all to catch up.
The Peoples team have now won the top tier league for 15 times.