The stage is set for the ninth edition of the Standard Bank Knockout Cup finale between Civo United and Mighty Be Forward Wanderers at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe on Sunday.
At stake is the K10 million winner’s cheque while the losing finalist will get a K5 million consolation.
On paper, the Nomads are favourites as they have not lost in a cup final for over a decade now. They have also won the tournament twice—in 2012 and 2013 and will be gunning to win it for the third time.
Before Standard Bank took over sponsorship of the cup, the Nomads were also the first team to win it in 2005 when it was known as the FAM Cup.
On the other hand, Civo have never won the cup.
Wanderers co-team mamanger Chiyembekezo Zidana said they are set to win their second silverware this season after the Carlsberg Cup.
“We hardly lose in a cup final and we are looking forward to continuing with that run.
“However, it will be a tough game because Civo have made tremendous improvement and we won’t throw caution to the wind,” said Zidana.
Ironically, the Nomads’ trampcard is former Civo marksman Jabulani Linje who they poached from the Civil Servants at the start of the season.
He also scored the lone goal when the Lali Lubani Road outfit beat Civo 1-0 in the first round of the TNM Super League. But the Civil Servants avenged that defeat three weeks ago by the same margin in the second round.
The other potential match winners for the Nomads are Stanely Sanudi, Isaac ‘Tcheya’ Kaliati, Rafiq Mussa, Alfred Manyozo Jnr, Mike Kaziputa, Luka Milanzi and Victor Nyirenda.
On the other hand, Civo’s team manager Austin Nyondo said they are looking forward to ending their cup drought.
“It has been sometime since we last won a cup and having reached the finals, we cannot let this opportunity slip through our fingers.
“Nevertheless, it will be a tough game and we hope playing at home will give us an edge,” said the former Civo marksman.
Nimble-footed Nelson Kangunje, Gerald Nkungula and Thokozani Harrison are the men that carry Civo’s hopes.
Standard Bank marketing manager Brian Mungomo Jnr and the competition’s organising committee chairperson Jabbar Alide said they are looking forward to an exciting finale.
Said Mungomo: “We have lined up a number of exciting activities and we are hoping that it will be an incident free and action-packed finale.”