Malawi’s Nyasa Big Bullets came from behind to hold 10-man Yanga SC in the Cecafa Kagame Cup opener played at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Sunday evening.
Bullets stand-in coach Peter Mponda fielded an experienced side, handing rare runs to Chiukepo Msowoya, the 2010 Cecafa club championship winner with APR from Rwanda, upfront and Yamikani Fodya getting the nod at the left-back.
However, it was the hosts who drew first blood through Waziri Junior in the eighth minute, finding space among Bullets defenders to slot past goalkeeper Rabson Chiyenda.
However, the lead lasted 21 minutes before the Malawi league champions got their equaliser after Yanga’s Haji Abdalla fouled Aderpoje Babatunde in the box.
Msowoya stepped forward to score Bullets equalizer in the 29th minute after sending goalkeeper Ramadhan Kabwili the wrong way from the spot.
Both teams played attacking football in the second-half but they could not score more goals.
Drama was reserved for the last minute of the match as Kabwili received a red card for fouling Bullets striker Hassan Kajoke. Geoffrey Magaigwa replaced the hosts keeper.
Kajoke had come in for Msowoya whereas Precious Phiri and Anthony Mfune replaced injured winger McFallen Mgwira and striker Adepoju for Bullets.
Bullets were making their return to the Cecafa championship after a 28-year absence this time around as guests since the Malawians belong to Southern Zone of Africa football.
Bullets and Yanga are in Group A alongside Express FC (Uganda) Atlabara FC (South Sudan) whereas defending champions KCCA FC from Uganda lead Group B comprising Azam FC (Tanzania), Le Messager Ngozi FC (Burundi) and KMKM SC (Burundi).
Eight teams will slug it out in the tournament which runs from August 1 to 14 in Dar es Salaam, after Gor Mahia pulled out.
The best two teams from each group will qualify for the semi-final stage.
Express FC v Altabara FC @ Benjamin Mkapa Stadium
Le Messager Ngozi v KMKM SC @ Zanzibar
KCCA FC v Azam FC @ Azam Complex