Robert Laws Secondary School of Mzimba beat Joyce Banda Foundation (JBF) of Blantyre 2-1 at Mulanje Park on Saturday to win the 2018 Copa Coca-Cola Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) Football Tournament.
Robert Laws has become the first school to win the annual competition after the format was changed to allow secondary schools to compete as individual entities and not select sides from the country’s education divisions.
On Saturday, first-half strikes by Wined Lungu and Paul Mhango, who finished as the national finals golden boot winner with five goals, were enough to enable the Mzimba-based side to win the cup and, with it, K2 million first prize.
Lungu scored through a free-kick in the 16th minute before Mhango came in with a thunderbolt 10 minutes to half-time after outpacing two defenders.
JBF got a consolation goal early in the second half through a penalty which Enock Njala converted.
“I am happy that my boys put up a gallant fight to win the competition,” said Robert Laws coach Epmac Lwanja.
For Blantyre-based JBF, it was a heartbreaking experience to see their title hopes in the two-day national finals crumble like a humble pie in front of high-profile sports figures, including Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu, Flames coach Ronny van Geneugden, Massa president Harris Kachale and Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) board member Rodrick Chiwaya who was the guest of honour..
JBF players could not hold their tears as their Robert Laws counterparts celebrated with their glittering trophy.
It took the effort of their coach Sheckman Chabwera to console them and make them understand that, in any competition, there can only beone winner.
Castel Malawi corporate communications manager Titha Mbilizi, whose company pumped K60 million in the contest, said they were impressed with the conduct of players and officials in this 50th edition of the tournament.
She said they will come back bigger and better next year.
Nyamilandu and Kachale said they were impressed with the abundance of talent the competition, which had 1 600 participating school teams, has produced this year.