The second edition of the National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc-sponsored Mo626Ice College Basketball gathers momentum this morning with the elite eight contests at Malawi University of Science and Technology (Must) in Thyolo.
After separating men from boys in the zonal qualifiers and play-offs, the top eight in both men’s and women’s categories battle for the semis.
Men’s reigning champions Malawi College of Accountancy (MCA)-Lilongwe Campus will set the ball rolling when they face Chancellor College (Chanco) Hawks in what promises to be a no-holds-barred clash.
MCA captain and trampcard Hydin Mafuta says they are set for the showdown.
“We are ready for them and we will not hold anything back. We will give it all our best,” said the ever-upbeat MCA skipper.
His Hawks counterpart Chikondi Sato said: “We have been putting in the necessary work. We are confident of getting a positive result.
Apart from Mafuta, the star-studded Hawks also have Patrick Chirwa and Malumbo Kumwenda while the Hawks also have Dumisani Kawiya, Waza Phiri, Sunganani Mpekasambo and Samuel Kalonga.
Last year’s losing finalists Poly Wildcats, boosted by their 100 percent record in the qualifiers, face DMI.
Poly captain Robert Matambo said: “As I said earlier on, our aim is to go all the way to the finals and get it right this time around.”
On his part, DMI captain Rodney Mlauzi said: “Obviously it will be tougher than where we are coming from, but our team is ready for any opponent. We stepped up our preparations knowing that it’s getting hot.”
In other men’s last eight encounters, Malawi Assemblies of God University (Magu) date MCA-Blantyre Camps while hosts Must engage Bunda.
In ladies category, defending champions African Bible College (ABC) face Zima, who will be making their first appearance at this level.
However, while the odds appear stacked against her side on paper, Zima’s captain Angie Chibwana said: “We are fully prepared for the tournament and we know what to expect from a tournament of this nature.
“It is our first time to take part, so we are the underdogs, especially facing the champions, but a dog with its teeth can still bite.”
In other last eight matches in ladies’ category, Poly take on Northern Zone sole representatives University of Livingstonia (Unilia) Must engage Magu whereas Catholic University (CU) face Bunda. n