The catchphrase for the Mo626 College Basketball final games was ‘the madness continues’ and oh yes it did for invincible Malawi College of Accountancy (MCA)-Lilongwe Campus men’s side which retained the honours in spectacular fashion on Saturday.
New kids on the block Zomba Institute of Management and Accountancy (Zima) did it in ladies category during contests that charmed the turnout at Chancellor College’s Chirunga court in Zomba.
MCA Lilongwe Campus beat hosts Chanco Hawks 53-46 while Zima saw-off Malawi Assemblies of God University (Magu) 62-56. In third-place matches, Poly Wildcats edged Magu 61-60 in men’s section while Poly Ladies beat Bunda 46-42.
The scenes after the final whistle of the men’s final were a wonder to behold as MCA turned the arena into a theatre of celebrations as the hosts trooped off in disappointment.
Led by their captain Hydin Mafuta, the champions were on song right from the word go with their give-and-go style, reducing Chanco to chasing shadows right at their own backyard as the fans watched starry-eyed.
And in the end, it was the visiting team that drove back to their capital city base with K2 million champions’ prize which they got through sponsors National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc’s Mo626 service. Zima also got a similar package while losing finalists received half the amount each.
“It’s really a big achievement for us to win the tournament back-to-back. We put in a lot of effort and we had good team spirit. We thank our college management for their support and also the sponsors for such a wonderful tournament,” said Mafuta.
On his part, Hawks coach Hope Chisamanga praised his charges for putting up a good fight.
“We were up against a good side and we knew it would be tough, but we find solace in that we improved a lot this year,” he said.
Zima captain Angel Mwalija said: “I am at a loss for words really… I mean we were the underdogs, but we defied the odds to win the tournament. Hard work and team spirit were the factors behind our success.”
Magu team manager Willz Jabah Chioko expressed disappointment at their failure to win the cup, saying his team lacked coordination “and we also had a few internal issues that affected our performance”.
NBM corporate affairs manager Annie Magola said as sponsors they were impressed with the level of competition and organisation.
“The response has been overwhelming. We introduced the tournament with the objective of engaging young and talented students to maximise their potential in the sport.
“It is also about ensuring that students are kept busy and away from conducting activities that would harm them.
“Further to that, we want to ensure that college students are engaged at an early stage with our online products like Mo626,” she said.
Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) president Hamlet Kamtengeni said the tournament has helped to expose hidden talent.
“Through this tournament, we have identified potential national team players. It has also been exciting throughout with teams such as Zima and Magu emerging as surprise package,” he said.
NBM sponsors the tournament to the tune of K62 million with Basmal as an executing agent through a three year memorandum of understanding (MoU) which runs up to the end of this year. n