BLANTYRE(Maravipost)—Silver Strikers coach Stein Chirwa finally got his hands on the Standard Bank cup trophy after beating Azam Tigers 1-0 on Saturday, putting to rest seven-year poor record in cup competitions.
Silver have been outstanding in the TNM Super League by claiming the league’s title three consecutive times but have been finding cup glory hard to come by.
But on Saturday silver made sure they once again embed their name in the Standard Bank cup competition, and at the same time presenting a timely gift to their cup victory starved fans by defeating Tigers 1-0 in the standard Cup final at the Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.
People thronged the stadium to capacity, and amongst the huge turnout was Ghana national football team captain Asamoah Gyan who is in the country for “Protect the Goal” campaign.
Silver made their statement of intent from the word go as they pressed the Kau-Kau boys hard and Gonani scored what ended up to be the winning goal after receiving a pass from Ndaziwona Chatsalira nine minutes into the first half.
Every time Silver moved forward, Tigers seemed to panic as the combination of Gonani, Chatsalila and Blessings Tembo troubled them time and again.
The Tigers, playing without three key players who are with Malawi Under-20 in Zambia, tried to get an equalizer but the Bankers could not afford to lose three times in the final of the prestigious cup.
After the last whistle, Tigers’ team manager Robin Alufandika had no kind words for the Football Association of Malawi (FAM).
“This is a FAM’s gift to Silver Strikers. They allowed the game to be played while our three key players are away in Zambia with the Malawi Under-20. It’s very unfair!” said Alufandika with unfeigned sadness.
Silver’s Stein Chirwa praised his charges for playing according to instructions.
“I thank the players for putting a gallant fight. It’s good that we have won the cup after losing twice in the final. I’m very happy with the victory,” said Chirwa.
Silver went away with K9 million and a trophy for emerging victor in the K29 million cup.
The Bankers reached the final after beating their distant rivals Mighty Wanderers at the semifinal stage in a dramatic and pulsating penalty shootout at the Kamuzu Stadium last week while Tigers beat Mafco to reach the final stage.