Written by MALAWI NEWS AGENCY
BLANTYRE--It’s over. Escom Sisters defied all odds to win the OG Issa Southern Region Netball League after seeing-off a spirited challenge from Bingu Tigresses to chalk a 41-33 win at Blantyre Youth Centre in a nerve shredding encounter on Wednesday (February 20, 2013).
The electricians proved that they are a force to reckon in Malawi from the first whistle as they displayed a stunning performance especially through their outstanding shooter Jessica Mazengera, no nonsense captain Caroline ‘Ayuda’ Ngwira and Bridget Kumwenda.
Other players, who were on top of their game for Escom Sisters were cool-calm Towera ‘Tobe’ Vinkhumbo and Enelesi Mdezo.
On Bingu Tigresses side, it was the usual problem of misplacing passes, composure and determination otherwise Escom Sisters were a threat in the first and second quarter when they were leading by 11-5 and 22-15 respectively.
In front, Tigresses banked all their hopes on Malawi Queens’s slippery shooter Sindi ‘Sniper’ Simutowe who tried all her tactics but Caroline Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbo were too good to contain her.
The absence of Grace ‘Pincord’ Mwafulirwa, who is on maternity leave was felt on Tigresses as Lauren ‘China’ Ngwira find it tough to handle Mazengera, who was on top of her game.
Escom Sisters coach Griffin ‘Zagalo’ Saenda was delighted with the victory describing it as a gift to their supporters since losing sponsorship to ESCOM.
“Iam so happy because we have managed to defend our title. So far we have the Rainbow Paints Trophy and with the OG Issa Trophy as well, we can seat and relax now,” said Saenda.
Bingu Tigresses coach Charles Mhango blamed their loss to poor co-ordination among his players but was quick to point it out that they will bounce back soon.
In his remarks, Mansur Ismail Operations manager from Electrode said as sponsors they were satisfied with the way Southern Region Netball League Committee handled the League.
“We are satisfied with the League and let us also point it out that we are delighted because it has helped to un earth hidden talent,” said Ismail, who went on to reveal good news that they will continue sponsoring the League.
Ismail promised the teams that come next season they should expect an increase of the prize money.
Southern Region Netball League Chairman Khungikile Matiya commended OG and Group Company for their support and committing themselves to bunce back next season.
However, before the match there was drama as Escom Sisters were reluctant to go onto the field of play following Bingu Tigresses refusal to play only three quarters instead of the normal four.
The Finals, which were supposed to take place last Saturday, were abandoned in the first quarter when Escom Sisters were leading 14-7 baskets due to heavy rains, and both sides agreed to continue the match on Wednesday with the same margin.
But after further consultations, it was realized that according to the rules of the game, both teams were supposed to re-start the game, a development which irked Escom Sisters.
It took almost 15 minutes both sides, Southern Region Netball League committee and Umpires to bang heads before the sponsors intervened for the game to be re-started.
For scooping first place, Escom Sisters went away with K300, 000 while Bingu Tigresses received K200, 000.
In the media category, Arkangel Tembo for Malawi News Agency was voted best reporter on-line with The Daily Times Mphatso Malidadi and The Nation Newspaper Correspondent Solomoni Manda being voted the best in print media.
From the electronic media Lucy Kadzongwe, who works for Zodiak and Frank Kandu were voted the best while Paul Kamanga for MBC TV and Joshua Malango from CFC TV were also, voted the best.