Defending champions Kukoma Diamonds and Civonets will battle for ultimate glory in the GOtv Netball Champions League at Don Bosco in Lilongwe on September 30.
This follows their success in the second round of the Fast5-formatted contest at Katoto Secondary School in Mzuzu on Sunday when they finished top and runners up, respectively.
While Diamonds are looking forward to defend the title and win the K3 million first prize, Civonet Sisters are gunning for their first success story in the tournament.
However, the two-day second round matches were not without surprises. Diamonds suffered their first defeat of the contest when they went down 29-30 to the resurgent Civonets. Eagles and Mafco beat giants Tigresses 34-23 and 26-23, respectively. Mafco also managed to hold Diamonds 26-26.
“It was a wonderful and exciting round as each competing team engaged an extra gear to qualify for the title battle. No game was predictable thereby throwing netball lovers into suspense the whole weekend,” said Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) general secretary Carol Bapu.
Despite that Diamonds settled for the top slot with 11 points from seven games at the conclusion of the second round while Civonets took the second place on better basket difference after tying on 10 points with third placed Blue Eagles Sisters.
Eagles will now battle it out against Mafco in the third place play-offs while Thunder Queens and Tigresses will be on each other’s neck in a placing match for the fifth position. Mzuzu-based Mimosa Queens and Lameck Queens will tussle for the seventh place.
“It was a tough round; nevertheless, we are happy to have made the grade for title battle. Our focus is now to strategise on how to defend the title,” Diamonds assistant coach Noel Mussa said.
On his part, Civonets mentor Whyte Mlilima said they are happy to reach this far for the first time in the competition and “we are set to surprise our bigger opponents again in the final round because this is a unique competition where big names don’t count.” n