A fifth TNM Super League title on the trot and 16th overall, absolute luxury.
FCB Nyasa Bullets’ ruthless streak reigned in domestic football on Sunday when they played out a one-all draw against eventual runners-up Silver Strikers at Kamuzu Stadium in Blantyre to defend the title.
The Central Bankers needed to win by a four-goal margin and their upbeat coach Pieter de Jonhg felt they could convert fantasy into reality, but in the end it turned out to be a mere flight of fancy.
Bullets finished with 60 points, three above Silver who last won the title in 2013, a decade ago to be precise.
And amid fascinating sights and roaring sounds, Bullets fans exploded after the final whistle as the tidal wave of pride swept through their veins.
When the time they all had been waiting for came as captain Precious Sambani0 was presented with the trophy, there was an explosion of boundless joy that could be heard as far as Bullets’ traditional Ndirande Township home.
In the actual match, after a goalless first half, the People’s Team surged ahead in the 58th minute through their wonder kid Patrick Mwaungulu.
A ball that was floated with precision by Ernest Petro found Mwaungulu lurking in the box and he easily tapped the ball home to send Bullets fans into delirium and triggered a vibration.
It was as soft as the cheeks of a newly-born baby.
Despite the tall order they faced, the Reserve Bank of Malawi-sponsored side fought on and got an equaliser in the 75th minute.
The beauty of it lay in the creation.
Former Bullets midfield workhorse Chimwemwe Idana floated a free-kick from the right flank and Patrick Macheso complemented it with a sharp header that went in between the legs of goalkeeper Richard Chimbamba into the net.
The goal sent the packed stadium into a cathedral-hush silence, but it was too little, too late.
In a post-match interview, Bullets coach Kallisto Pasuwa could not hide his delight after guiding Bullets to the fifth successive title, but he admitted that it was a tough season.
On the other hand, de Jongh once again attributed his team’s failure to his players’ absence for national team engagements which he said affected their planning.
“And also the absence of Idana in seven matches affected us a lot because he was our key player. Otherwise we gave Bullets a good run and congratulations to them,” he said.
Elsewhere, Blue Eagles were relegated after they tied with 13th-placed Moyale Barracks in everything.
The two teams are tied on 35 points, but the Malawi Defence Force side has escaped relegation on head-to-head basis.
Super League of Malawi general secretary Williams Banda confirmed in an interview yesterday that it is the Malawi Police Service side, which lost 1-2 to Mafco FC yesterday that has been relegated.
He said: “We need to look at the games played between the two teams and the one that was superior will stay put.
“In this case, the two teams played out a one-all draw in the first round before Moyale won the second round match 0-1.
“So head-to-head, Blue Eagles go out.”
Ironically, Moyale thumped their brothers-in-arms Red Lions 7-0 in their last match to escape the chop.
Lions had already been relegated going into their final match against Moyale.
But in post match interviews, Moyale coach Victor Chingoka and Lions’ assistant coach Malumbo Mkandawire denied having fixed the match to smoothen the path for Moyale.
Said Mkandawire: “Not at all. We did not play well today. Moyale were by far the better side.”
Meanwhile, Mighty Mukuru Wanderers’ bid for a runners-up slot was dealt a blow after losing to Civil Service United 1-0 at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe. Binwell Katinji scored the lone goal.