Kukoma Diamonds have done it again. They have retained the Rainbow Paints Blantyre and Districts Netball League with a 100 percent record.
They capped it all by seeing-off rivals First Choice Tigresses 34-32 in a decisive pulsating contest at Blantyre Youth Centre on Saturday.
Diamonds bagged all the 40 points on offer and pocketed K1.3 million plus a trophy as champions while runners-up Tigresses finished with 36 points and got K700 000. Tropical Queens were third with 32 points and have received K350 000.
In a scintillating decider which, surprisingly, was poorly patronised, Tigresses dominated the first quarter and led 9-8. They continued to control the proceedings in the second quarter and at half time they led 18-16.
Diamonds came into the last quarter with renewed purpose and narrowly led 27-26.
In the last quarter, Diamonds pressed hard to emerge victorious to the delight of their assistant coach Noel Mussa.
“We are happy to have defended the league, that’s all we wanted. We started poorly but our girls kept on fighting and in the end it worked,”
On her part, Tigresses coach Chawinga-Kaluwa said despite the loss, she was impressed with the performance of her predominantly youthful squad.
“We are taking a step at a time. Most of our players are young, but soon we will reap the rewards. This squad is slowly maturing,” she said.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Francis Phiso said government is committed to develop netball in the country.
In individual awards, TendaiMasamba was named best shooter, best centre accolade went to HawaChikoja of Tropical while Carol Mtukule-Ngwira was named best defender.
Best Coach Award went to ShizaellaViyuyi of Shizaella Queens while best umpire was Linda Kaponda.
In media category, Solomon Manda of Nation Publications Limited was named the best print journalist, YasinLimu (TV Islam), Victor Singano (Nyasa Times) and Foster Mkwamba (Ufulu FM) were named the best in television, online and radio, respectively while MwakheleKaliyande (MIJ FM) won the Best Female Reporter.