By Mabvuto Kambuwe:
Capital City giants Silver Strikers and Civil Sporting Club renew their rivalry this afternoon when they clash in the TNM Super League at Silver Stadium in Lilongwe.
This is the second most anticipated fixture in domestic football after the Blantyre derby involving Nyasa Big Bullets and Be Forward Wanderers.
However, the Lilongwe derby does not live up to its expectations at times as the Central Bankers have dominated the fixture for the past four seasons in all competitions.
In the last five matches, Silver have won three games, with the other two games ending in draws. Probably, it is Civil’s time to break the jinx against their rivals.
Silver are coming from a 2-0 victory over Red Lions at Silver Stadium whereas Civil drew 2-2 against struggling Mafco at Civo Stadium last weekend.
The two Capital City sides are separated by 12 points on the log table with the Central Bankers on second position with 43 points from 22 games whereas the Servants are fourth with 31 points from the same number of games.
Heading into the match, both sides are under pressure as Civil coaches were asked to win three games after a string of losses whereas Silver have been inconsistent since the start of the second round, prompting the executive committee to suspend coach Lovemore Fazili and team manager Francis Songo.
Silver assistant Coach Peter Mgangira said the Lilongwe derby is a game which can go either side.
“There is a lot at stake each time we meet Civil, so it is always a difficult match. But we have prepared well and we hope to get a positive result,’’ Mgangira, who also played for Civil in the early stages of his career, said.
The Central Bankers have received a huge boost ahead of the clash after exciting midfielder Jack Chiona and Newman Mwamsamale returned from injury.
In this encounter, Civil should keep a close eye on Khuda Muyaba, Thuso Paipi and Duncan Nyoni who are Silver’s main weapons.
Yinusa Sherrif, Trevor Kalema and Mike Ntonyo have been outstanding at the back for Silver this season providing cover to goalkeeper Brighton Munthali whereas Captain Young Chimodzi Jnr and Levison Maganizo are likely to be at the hub of the team.
But Civil Coach, Franco Ndawa, believes the clash would be a turning point for his charges.
“We have struggled in recent matches but this is a derby and anything can happen. We have to go there and play our normal game so that we collect maximum points,’’ Ndawa said.
In defence, Civil will rely on Lawrence Chaziya, Willard Dickson, Andrew Banda and Gomegzani Chirwa with Patrick Thupi and Isaac Msiska expected to man the midfield.
Without injured striker Raphael Phiri, Civil will keep their faith in Fletcher Bandawe, Innocent Tanganyika and Christopher Kumwembe.
In other games scheduled for today, Kamuzu Barracks will take on Mzuni at Civo Stadium whereas Moyale Barracks and Karonga United face-off at Mzuzu Stadium.
Action continues tomorrow with just one match involving TN Stars and Mzuni at Kasungu Stadium.
Previous Capital City derby results
Civil 1 Silver1
Silver 2 Civil 1
Civil 0 Silver 0
Silver 2 Civil 0
Civil 1 Silver 2