By Hastings Ndebvu
By the end of the 2020/21 Super League season, Mighty Wanderers came a distant third in the league, trailing champions Nyasa Big Bullets by a whooping seven points and finished three points behind runners up Silver Strikers who finished four points behind Bullets.
It was another league season to forget for the Nomads who were last crowned Champions in 2017 and have had to endure three seasons without league glory with their arch rivals, Nyasa Big Bullets emerging champions for the third consecutive season since 2018.
And four weeks into the 2022 league season, it seems unlikely that the Nomads are going to break the jinx as the ghosts of the last season, that of not being able to score goals, has come back to haunt them again this campaign.
The Nomads finished last season with a meagre 38 goals from 30 games, 13 goals less than Bullets who scored 51 goals from the same number of games. On average, the Nomads were scoring 1.3 goals per match while Bullets had an average of 1.7 goals per game.
This season, Wanderers are already showing signs of struggling in front of goal, managing just four goals in four games, averaging a goal in each game while Bullets have already scored seven goals from the same number of games, averaging 1.75 goals per game.
The Nomads biggest score line this season is a 2-1 victory over TN Stars at the Chiwembe Stadium in Week 2 after managing to score just once in two fixtures; the 1-2 defeat to Nyasa Big Bullets in Week 1 and the 0-1 away win at Moyale in Week 4. The Nomads failed to score in the 0-0 draw against Wakawaka Tigers at the Mpira Stadium in Week 3.
That is in sharp contrast to Bullets who have scored three goals as their biggest margin against Ekwendeni Hammers in a 3-1 at the Kamuzu Stadium in Week 3. The Kalisto Pasuwa side managed two goals in their opening match against the Nomads in Week 1 and a goal each away to Blue Eagles and Dedza Dynamos in Week 4. They have so far not failed to score in a league game thus far.
The Nomads biggest weakness is perhaps their striking force. This season strikers at Lali Lubani have scored three goals in the four matches so far with Vinicent Nyangulu scoring once against Nyasa Big Bullets in the 1-2 defeat and Chiukepo Msowoya scoring two times, once against TN Stars in the 2-1 win and also once against Moyale in the 0-1 win in Mzuzu.
At Bullets, strikers have scored four times this season as Babatunde Adepoju has found the net twice, once in the 3-1 win against Ekwendeni and in the 1-1 draw at Blue Eagles. Striker Antony Mfune was on the score sheet against Mighty Wanderers in the 2-1 win while Hassan Kajoke also registered a goal against Ekwendeni.
From the seven goals bullets have scored this season, three have come from the midfield with Captain Chimwemwe Idana getting on the score sheet against Wanderers and Dedza Dynamos and Macfallen Ngwira scoring in the 3-1 win over Ekwendeni. In contrast, Wanderers midfield has provided just one goal courtesy of Francis Mkonda’s opening goal in the 2-1 win over TN Stars.
Bullets’ ability to get goals from various departments was a very big factor in helping them secure the league title last season.
The team’s striking force contributed a total of 28 goals in the league last season with the league’s top goal scorer, Haasan Kajoke netting 15 times, seconded by retired striker Zicco Mkanda who registered eight goals. Current Nomads striker Chiukepo Msowoya struck three times for Bullets in the league last season and former Wanderers striker Babatunde was on target once for Bullets in the league when he switched from the Blues. Lanjesi Nkhoma also scored once for the Champions.
At Wanderers, the return for the strikers was lower. The forwards at Lali Lubani registered just 20 league goals last season with Vincent Nyangulu the top scorer with six goals followed by Babatunde and Mischeck Botoman with 5 goals apiece while another retired striker, Peter Wadabwa, scored 4 goals.
The midfield at Lali Lubani contributed nine league goals with Vitumbiko Kumwenda and Isaac Kaliati the highest scorers with three goals each while Yamikani Chester, Felix Zulu and Fransic Mkonda managed just a goal each.
At Bullets, Midfielders scored 14 times, five times more than their counterparts at Wanderers. Captain Chimwemwe Idana scored five league goals, Mike Mkwate, Peter Banda and Macfallen Ngwira scored two goals each with Precious Phiri, Mischeck Seleman and Azizi contributing a goal each.
At the back, defenders at Wanderers outscored their counterparts at Bullets with a goal as the Nomads backline contributed nine goals as opposed to Bullets defenders who scored eight times. At Wanderers, outcast Yunus Sheriff and wingbacks Stanley Sanudi and Fransic Mlimbika scored two league goals each while Peter Cholopi, Bongani Kaipa and Ted Sumani were on target once.
Wanderers failed to score in the league nine times shooting blanks in their goalless draws against Moyale, Ntopwa, MAFCO, Mighty Tigers and Silver Strikers and also failing to find the back of the net in their defeats to Karonga United (two times), Moyale , and MAFCO.
On the other hand, Bullets failed to score eight times in the league last season in their barren draws against Mzuzu Warriors, MAFCO, Blue Eagles and TN Stars. The champions were also unable to hit the target in their defeats to Mighty Wanderers, Moyale, Karonga United and Silver Strikers.
In the league last season, Mighty wanderers scored just one goal in 10 out of their 30 matches while Bullets scored 1 goal in just six matches. Bullets only managed a goal in their matches against Mafco (1-1), Red Lions (1-0W), Blue Eagles (1-0 W), Mighty Wanderers (1-1), Ekwendeni (1-1) and Ntopwa (1-1). The Nomads on the other scored just a goal in their games against Bullets (1-0W), Mighty Tigers (1-0 W), TN Stars (1-0 W), Reds Lions (1-1), Big Bullets (1-1) Kamuzu Barracks (1-1), Mzuzu Warriors Warriors (1-1), Silver Strikers 1-1 and Blue Eagles (3-1 W).
Another Nomads shortfall in the league was their inability to score more goals against the top teams with the Nomads scoring just seven goals in their 8 games against Big Bullets, Civo United, Silver Strikers and Karonga United. In contrast, Bullets scored 10 goals in their games against the top four. Over the entire season Bullets’ biggest victory was a 6-0 massacre of TN Stars at the Kamuzu Stadium followed by the 5-1 demolition of Moyale Barracks at the same venue. As for Wanderers, their biggest victory was a 4-1 win over Ntopwa FC.
The Nomads scoring trend last season coupled with how the team has started the season thus far, it would not be surprising to see them missing out on the title again this season. If they do not up their game in front of goal.
Pic: Ark Tembo. Wanderers Facebook Page