By Grace Chingoma
After dominating the Malawian Premiership for the past two seasons, Callisto Pasuwa’s Nyasa Big Bullets have started their campaign slowly this season.
The champions have collected 12 points from eight matches, and are seven points behind joint leaders Silver Strikers and Ekwendeni Hammers.
Bullets have lost on the road once and drawn three times at home.
However, the champions remain unbeaten, in over 98 home games since 2012, but the three draws have been a source of frustration for some of their success-spoilt faithful.
When Pasuwa entered a new contract last year, he was targeting a third league title and, at least, two other trophies, this season.
The Zimbabwean had to extend the contract, which was due to expire this January, after the Malawian league was affected by Covid-19, only to begin towards the end of last year.
Unfortunately, for Pasuwa and his troops, they were was unable to feature in the 2020-2021 CAF Champions League competition. Nyasa Big Bullets withdrew from the continental club competition.
The Malawi giants accused their football authorities of delays in allowing them permission to resume preparations, amid suspension of sports activities.
The former Warriors coach had met with little success in the Champions League, in the previous campaign after his side was denied a place into the first round by FC Platinum, after they lost 2-3 at Barbourfields.
Despite winning the league with the Glamour Boys a record four times, the former Warriors midfielder failed to progress to the group stages of the same tournament.
He has won six league championships with two different clubs.
The 50-year-old coach is yet to make a mark in the African Safari.
Yesterday, Malawian journalist, Peter Kanjere, attributed Bullets’ slow start to an ageing squad.
However, Kanjere said it is too early to rule them out of contention for honours.
Pasuwa is chasing a league title for the seventh time in his seven campaigns.
“Bullets have exciting youngsters, but to be brutally honest, the big chunk of the squad is old,’’ he said.
“Additionally, there wasn’t sufficient pre-season, resulting in training overload. Evidently, most regulars are yet to hit top form.
“Some regulars, such as midfielder Chimango Kaira, striker-in-chief Chiukepo Msowoya and captain, John Lanjesi, are yet to feature due to injury related reasons.’’
He said the absence of Charles Petro, who was sold, was also telling.
“Bullets sold young sweeper, Charles Petro, who was key for them, playing from the back, and they didn’t replace him.
“Minus Petro, the other young players are attacker Peter Banda, striker Hassan Kajoke and defender Nixon Nyasulu.
“Pasuwa promoted these boys to the main team but, perhaps, he needed to draft more young blood this season.
“It is evidently clear that the teams that have hit the ground running, such as Silver and Ekwendeni, have predominantly young squads.
“Bullets might be struggling due to these reasons but it is still early days, you just can’t rule them out of the marathon,” said Kanjere. The Herald