Bravehearts dominance in the national club championship marked a shift in the basketball power from the Southern Zone Basketball League (Sozobal) to Central Zone Basketball League.
Bravehearts beat Central Knights 85-50 in an all Cezobal final at African Bible College (ABC) Court on Saturday.
Usually the national championships were dominated by Sozobal teams Magang’a, Mimbulu and Bricks, who went into the tournament as defending champions.
But the Southern Region teams could only settle for third place play-offs in which Bricks beat Magang’a.
Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) president Hamlet Kamtengeni said the outcome of the championship shows that teams have improved significantly.
“Overall I think the teams played well. But what was a major surprise was that Cezobal is now a dominant force. In fact, it’s a wake-up call for other zones to up their game as well,” he said.
Cezobal chairperson Hellen Chabunya said she was pleased that their efforts to build a strong league of competitive teams are bearing efforts.
“We are overwhelmed that finally we have dominated at national level. Teams have been working really hard to be where they are and it is pleasing,” she said.
Bravehearts coach Griffin Kalua was overwhelmed by his team’s triumph and the Central Region teams’ performance.
His team, which rose from the lower league to win the Cezobal title in its debut season, were unstoppable with Zimbabwean imports Tinotenda Nhira and Wishes Kakomo at the heart of their opponents’ demolition.
Kalua said: “We fought a good battle. I am proud of the boys, the competition was tough. We hope that this team will achieve great things.”
Central Knight coach Chancy Dzama conceded that Bravehearts were too good for his side.
“We couldn’t cope with their play. Nevertheless, there were a lot of bright areas in our game. Reaching the final was a great achievement, so we still feel honoured,” he said.
Bravehearts’ Kakomo was named Most Valuable Player (MVP)— his third such award after he was also named MVP at Cezobal awards gala and National Bank of Malawi (NBM) College Championship finals. n