2019 Airtel Top Champions Silver Strikers pic by Tione Andsen (Mana)
By Tione Andsen
First half strike by Silver Strikers prodigal son, Khuda Muyaba propelled his team to claim second Airtel Top 8 Cup after beating resilient, Karonga United 1-0 before a sizeable crowd at Bingu National Stadium BNS in Are 48, Lilongwe on Saturday afternoon.
Silver has won the cup for the second time after it was introduced in 2017 were the first team to grab it after seeing off Be Forward Wanderers on post match penalties 10-9.
Last year, Capital City based side, Blue Eagles put their name to the crown after they down sized Nyasa Big Bullets 1-0 through Stuart Mbungue penalty.
The Lilongwe teams have made sure that the up should from Area 30 to City Centre at the Reserve Bank headquarters for safe keeping at the expiry of the three deal by Airtel Malawi.
History has repeated itself, as goal droughts continue in the 2019 Waka-waka competition, as Silver’s Muyaba snatched the golden boot award with two goals as it was the case last season where Wanderers midfielder, Joseph Kamwendo took the mantle with the same number of goals.
At the end of regulation time, Victor Lungu of Karonga United was named man of the match and pocketed K50, 000.
Karonga United need to be parted on their back for an entertaining football display to the amazement of most Ganyu fans as their players like defender, Lusekero Malema, midfielder Gentulo Andrea and striker Misheck Seleman were a delight to watch.
Silver nearly went into lead in the 16th minute, when winger, Thuso Paipi’s inviting cross was blasted wide by Khuda from closer range with Karonga goalie, Happy Msowoya at his mercy.
Fans were privileged to watch midfield battle that involved Silver’s captain, Young Chimodzi Jnr and Karonga’s, Andrea as both players were on their toes to gain supremacy at the heart of the pitch.
Karonga first had effort was taken in the 37th minute when Seleman long range drive tasted the strength of Silver’s goal minder, Brighton Munthali.
With only three minutes to break, Muyaba broke the deadlock when he planted home a loose ball from the resultant corner kick after the Karonga defence of Pilirani Thulu, Malema, Azizi Mwakifuna went to bed.
It was happy break for the entire Silver family as they had found a relief after Karonga had on several occasions had threatened to take control of the game.
Karonga’s Chrispine Mhango wasted a golden opportunity in the 50th minute when he shot wide after being put through by Seleman on the left flank of the northern goal.
The visitors, made a double substitution in the 52nd minute, when they rested Gule Mwaluska and Andrea for Bernard Msiska and Lottie Mwakisulu respectively.
Silver’s Michael Tetteh had an opportunity to increase his goal tally in the 57th minute when he was put through by Muyaba but his effort went wide with keeper to beat.
Karonga substitute, Msiska had his goal attempt was saved by Silver goalie, Munthali after Seleman had rounded off Yunus Sherrif and set him.
Silver pulled out Paipi and Levison Maganizo in the 65th minute for Victor Limbani and Kondwani Mwaila in order to contain the pressure Karonga boys were piling mostly in the midfielder row.
With 15 minutes to go, Karonga broke loose on the right flank when Lungu had played a pass to Khumbo Msowoya and his goal bound shot saved was brilliantly saved by Munthali to deny then any equalizer.
“We expected to have such a tough game with Karonga United and they have played well in the final showing that they are capable too,” Silver’s Assistant Coach, Lovemore Fazili admitted.
He said what was important for them during the cup final was to score and win the game and this was exactly what have we have done this afternoon.
Karonga United Coach, Dan Dzinkambani said his charges played a normal game and that they defeat could not be attributed to silvers experience.
“We played better and am happy with the way the boys have played on that we failed to create more scoring opportunities to win the cup,” he added.
Silver Strikers: Brighton Munthali, Young Chimodzi Jnr ©, Levison Maganizo (Kondwani Mwaila 65’), Herbert Wayekha, Sheriff Yinusa, Mike Robert, Trevor Kalema, Thuso Paipi (Victor Limbani 65’), Duncan Nyoni, Khuda Muyaba, Michael Tetteh,
Karonga United: Happy Msowoya, Pilirani Thulu, William Mwarwimba, Azizi Mwakifuna, Lusekero Malema, Gentulo Andrea (Lottie Mwakisulu 52’), Victor Lungu, Gule Mwaluska (Bernard Msiska 52’), Misheck Seleman, Khumbo Msowoya ©, Chrispine Mhango.
Officiation: Referee, Gift Nkhakananga, First Assistant Referee, Clement Kamwendo, Second Assistant referee, Samuel Fudzulani fourth official Alfred Kaphamtengo and Referee Assessor, Youngson Chilinda.