Mzuzu-based Sanwecka FC on Saturday became the third Northern Region team to win the First Capital Bank (FCB) Under-20 League national title after thrashing Blantyre-based Ndirande Stars 3-1 in the final at Mulanje Park.
Moyale Youth and Fish Eagles are the other teams from the region to have won the tournament in the past 12 years the bank has been bankrolling the youth football league, but it has been five years since the region’s ambassadors wore the crown.
Prior to the latest feat, the best that Sanwecka achieved was reaching the national final in 2017 when they suffered a 3-0 defeat to Griffin Young Stars (Blantyre).
On Saturday, Sanwecka got it over and done with by half-time as they led 3-1. There were no goals in the second half.
Chancy Kaonga drew first blood in the 10th minute with a neat finish before Wongani Lungu made it 2-0 in the 34th minute after heading home from a corner-kick. Prince Njaliwa hammered the last nail on Stars’ coffin in the 40th minute with a diagonal strike from a tight-angle in the 18-yard box.
Stars got their consolation goal from the spot-kick through Richard Luciano, who was fouled in the box.
“This is a dream come true for us and we are happy to have finally won a national trophy,” said Sanwecka coach Charles Kamanga, who also coached TNM Super League side Moyale Barracks.
Ndirande Stars coach Louis Makandanji attributed their loss to laxity on the part of his defenders in the first half and said it was painful to lose a national final by a two-goal margin.
In individual awards, Kaonga emerged as the top-scorer with two national finals’ goals. He also did it at regional level with five goals and at district level with 30. His team-mate Chawanangwa Mkandawire was named Player of the Tournament.
National Youth Football Association chairperson Chimango Munthali said he was happy that the league continues to produce talents for national football teams.
Football Association of Malawi (FAM) president Walter Nyamilandu, who was accompanied by first vice-president James Mwenda, general secretary Alfred Gunda and Flames legends Ernest Mtawali and Patrick Mabedi, thanked the bank for its continued support towards youth football development in the country.
Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Francis Phiso commended the bank for assisting government to fulfil sports and youth development plans.
FCB Capital Holdings Group head of risk and compliance William Masamba said the bank has been impressed with the conduct of both the players and officials in the 2019 edition and, as such, they will come back next year.
“As our slogan states that ‘Belief Comes First’, be well assured that the bank will continue sponsoring the league next year,” he said.