Never again! Five things Silver Strikers need to change to Beat Nyasa Big Bullets

Never again! Five things Silver Strikers need to change to Beat Nyasa Big Bullets

Silver Strikers will seek to avoid a fourth straight defeat against Champions Nyasa Big Bullets when the two teams meet in the Pamtsetse Bonanza at the Bingu National Stadium in Lilongwe on Saturday.

The clash comes exactly 7 days after the Bankers lost 0-1 to the People’s Team in the 2022 football season opening fixture, the Charity Cup Shield at the Kamuzu Stadium. The Daniel Kabwe side went down to a 36th minute Haji Wali’s header to register a third successive loss against Bullets at the venue in six months, having lost to the Kalisto Pasuwa’s side 2-1 in the 2021/22 TNM Super League second round fixture in July before losing the Airtel Top 8 Final on post-match penalties to Bullets in December.

The Area 47 side will therefore be desperate to upset the tables in the Pamtsetse Bonanza and get one over Bullets whom they last beat 4-2 in a penalty shootout in the FAM FDH Cup quarterfinals at the Silver Stadium in August. now looks at the five things Silver Strikers need to do right on Saturday to prevent a fourth straight loss against Bullets to bolster their confidence and prospects ahead of the forthcoming season set to kick-off on 19th March 2022.

1. Deal with their aerial weakness

Haji Wali’s 36th minute header at the Kamuzu Stadium exposed a recurring weakness of the Silver Strikers defense; dealing with aerial balls. During the two teams FAM FDH Cup quarter final clash which Silver won in post-match penalties at the Silver Stadium

In August 2021, the Bankers conceded two goals from two set pieces. The first goal came in the fourth minute after Bullets Winger Mcfallen Ngwira was left all alone to whip in a cross which found Striker Hassan Kajoke completely unmarked to put Bullets in the lead. After their Striker Stain Dave equalised, the Bankers also failed to deal with another Mcfallen Ngwira set piece from the right to allow striker Zicco Mkanda to put the ball past goalkeeper Charles Thom. Dave equalised to force the game into post-match penalties which the Bankers eventually won but  Silver’s  set piece weakness  was exposed for all to see in the 90 minutes.   Those defensive inefficacies had also been exposed against the same opponent a month earlier in their 2-1 league defeat at the Kamuzu Stadium when the Silver defense failed to deal with a long Sankhani Mkandawire freekick which Precious Phiri headed home to cancel an early Bankers lead. Against Bullets in the Charity Shield, defender Haji Wali made a couple of headers from set pieces before he finally found his target. He must have been aware of his former team’s inefficiency in this area and he wanted to exploit it fully. On Saturday, Silver’s defense must be on high alert to stop the likes of Adepoju Babatunde and Haji Wali who will be looking to explore this weakness further.

2. Attack, but cautiously

One of Silvers Strikers strength is the ability of their wingbacks to offer support to their attack in the final third. Defenders Mark Fodya and Innocent Shemma are adept at pushing forward and providing dangerous ball to their strikers in the box. However, the Bankers seem to yet to find a solution when caught on the counter. More often than not, their wingers have been caught far up the pitch when they are supposed to be in their natural positions when the opponent is attacking. Their exposed wings leave room for opponent’s wingers to whip in crosses that lead into goals.

3. Change system when not effective

Silvers strikers mostly rely on their wings to create goals. When in form, Zebron Kalima, Fodya and Blessings Tembo, who like to operate from the wings, supply excellent balls to their attacking colleagues or end up getting the goals themselves. The Bankers 3-0 demolition of Mighty Wanderers in the FAM FDH Cup semifinal at the Bingu National Stadium was a typical example of the Bankers on song. Kalima, Fodya and Tembo were all on the score sheet as they outclassed the Nomads. However, when their wings are not on song, the bankers tend to struggle to find alternative ways of breaking their opponents. In the Charity Shield Cup last Saturday, striker Chawanangwa Kaonga was deprived of balls after Bullets defenders Erick Kaonga and Hadji Wali closed down the wings. Silver will need to find ways of breaking down the Bullets defense through direct play in the middle of the pack by going at the opponent centerbacks.

4. Find a midfield stabiliser

The bankers have an excellent deep lying defending midfielder in Taonga Chimodzi who is marvellous at starting moves for his team. In Blessings Tembo, they have an attacking midfielder who is skilled and attack minded. It is the holding midfield role, played by Patrick Macheso, that the Bankers need to demand more from. Macheso is a hardworking box to box midfielder who is supposed to provide cover and a link between Chimodzi and Tembo. While the midfielder already has a lot of potential and not bad at marking, Macheso needs to do more. He needs to read the game more, know where the opponent is likely to play the ball and intercept and at the same time be able to supply passes, beat defenders and take shots himself. Currently, Macheso has all the hallmarks of being a Chimwemwe Idana for Silver, but he needs to do more to lift his team when it needs him the most.

5. Get vocal support from supporters

While the Bankers would seem to be playing in a hostile environment in the Southern Region as they do not boost of a huge support base in the region, the team’s supporters need to do better when the team is playing in Lilongwe. Unlike Mighty Wanderers, Nyasa Big Bullets and Civil Service supporters who give their teams the vocal support throughout  the 90 minutes whether their teams are winning or not, Silver Strikers supporters are not as vocal as they are supposed to be.  The supporters need to rally behind the team, cheer the players and encourage them throughout the match. It might seem small but this goes a long way in boosting the player’s morale.   

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