t was with trepidation that Kamuzu Barracks (KB) coach Billy Phambala faced shootouts after his side conceded two goals in the second half to force the game into post-match penalties.
Phambala immediately retreated to the dressing room after regulation time—probably dreading the worst. But fate was on his side and he ended up rushing back into the pitch to celebrate his team’s victory over a resilient and tough Masters Security.
It was not a stroll in the park for the soldiers as they were cornered by the ‘security guards’ towards the end of the game played at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe.
KB finally booked a Fisd Challenge Cup final berth after a 5-4 victory over Masters and they await the winner between Nyasa Big Bullets and Moyale Barracks who face off at the same venue today.
It was the soldiers’ second consecutive Fisd Challenge Cup final appearance since the competition was introduced last year.
After the two teams played out a 2-2 draw in regulation time, the game was decided through penalty shoot outs.
Manase Chiyesa kept his cool to score the decisive kick after Wyson Nkhana blasted his over the bar.
Mustafa Salimu, Kelvin Hanganda, World Nkuliwa and Pempho Kamsichiri earlier scored for KB whereas Tsanzo Dalio, Richard Chande, Gerald Nkungula netted for Masters.
Masters goalkeeper Bester Phiri saved Vincent Mphepo’s spotkick whereas KB’s shot-stopper, Lemani Nthala, saved Eneya Banda’s penalty.
In open play, KB took the lead in the first half through Dan Ziba who headed in from close range after Masters defenders were caught napping.
Masters should blame themselves for failing to grab the opener after dominating in the early stages of the game.
The two teams went for recess with KB leading 1-0. In the second half, KB increased the lead through Manase Chiyesa who beautifully beat Phiri midway the second half.
Masters fought hard and deservedly pulled one back through Juma Yatina.
But Masters were awarded a penalty in the closing stages of the game after Nthala brought down Nyangulu in the box.
Dalio stepped up to grab the equaliser.
Phambala said his team would like to lift the cup after failing to do so in last season’s final.
“We had all the chances to win the game in regulation time but lack of concentration nearly cost us the game. But we are working on winning in the final against either Bullets or Moyale. We are not scared of whoever makes it,” Phambala said.
His counterpart, Abasi Makawa, was quick to accept defeat.
“It is painful to be out of the tournament but my players did a good job,” Makawa said.
KB: Nthala, Mphepo, Salimu, Sam Chibvunde, Kamsichiri, Dave Banda, Dan Ziba, Diof Simaone, Chiyesa, Harvey Nkacha, Kelvin Hanganda.
Masters FC: Phiri, Nkhana, John Chalamanda, Chande, Banda, Sam Gunda, Amadu Makawa, Nkungula, Yatina, Vincent Nyangulu.