For the first time in eight years, Magangâ€™a have failed to qualify for the Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) Championships.
They lost 65-53 to Crazy Warriors in their last match of the Kati Scales Southern Zone Basketball League (Sozobal) play-offs on Sunday. This yearâ€™s Basmal championships are slated for November 23.
The loss has also confined the Zomba-based side to the fourth place in Sozobal for the first time since 2004. All along, Magangâ€™a have either been champions or the runners-up in the 12-team league.
“We have no excuse for the loss. Crazy Warriors played better than us. We just have to admit that this was not our season,” Magangâ€™a coach and player Hope Chisamanga said after the defeat.
But the result was a blessing for the newly established outfit Lox360, who have made their initial step into the championships despite losing their final play-off match 56-45 to Bricks at the BYC.
Apart from making it into the national championships, Bricks, Lox360 and Crazy Warriors have also finished as champions, runners-up and third-placed in Sozobal, which has reverted to the old play-offs format abandoned four years ago.
According to Sozobal chairperson Hamlet Kamtengeni, the results have proved that the play-off format is essential in determining real winners of the league.
“With the league format, most teams were relaxing after accumulating insurmountable number of points on the log table earlier as they already knew they were the champions. But now the event will be competitive until the last match,” said Kamtengeni.