Open happiness, as the Coca-Cola slogan say, will be the mood of the weekend in the Southern Region as its three education divisions battle for Copa Coca-Cola Schools regional championship.
Shire Highlands Education Division (Shed) finals are set for Mulanje Park on Thursday. Blantyre Youth Centre will host the finals of the South West Division (Swed) while Zomba Police will be the venue for the South East Division (Seed) Friday and Sunday.
The winning school from each division will join the other two from the Central Region and one from the North for the national finals set for Zomba Community Centre ground on July 8.
In Zomba, there are two groups with Group A comprising Zomba Urban, Monkey Bay from Mangochi, Malosa Secondary from Zomba Rural and will be held at Police ground. Group B has two teams only, namely Phalula CDSS from Balaka and Liwonde CDSS from Machinga and they will play at Mlunguzi ground. The winners of the two groups will meet in the finals on Sunday at Police ground.
“We expect a lot of fun and drama. We have two regular teams in defending champions Zomba Urban and Monkey Bay as well as little known Phalula and Liwonde, who are making their maiden divisional finals appearance,” said Swed sports chairperson James Sawerengera.
Malosa, who missed last yearâ€™s finals have a player to watch in Chikondi Kachimanga whose 10 goals at the district finals make him the top scorer in the division. Other leading scorers are Innocent Kondowe of Monkey Bay, (8 goals), Daison Grey of Phalula (7 goals) and Alexander Pendame of Zomba Urban (6 goals).
In Mulanje, the competing schools are Limbuli Modern Private from Mulanje, Luchenza from Thyolo, Australian Private from Phalombe and Chiradzulu Secondary School.
They will play in a round robin format and the team with more points will claim the division championship.
Modern will play Luchenza in the opening game at 8am according to Shed sport chairperson Hilda Masande.
At BYC, Mtenjera from Blantyre Rural and yet-to-be-identified Blantyre Urban side will open the games on Saturday in Group A which also has Thawale from Neno. Group B has Chikhwawa, Chiwale from Mwanza and Nsanje Secondary School.
Malawi Schools Sports Association (Massa) general secretary Blackson Malamula said the division finals will be exciting this year because the winning school will go to the national finals and not a division select as has been the case in the past 10 years.
Meanwhile, FAM technical director Jack Chamangwana has said coaches will be deployed in the three venues to spot talent for the Under-17 national football team.
“We have stopped selecting players from the Super League, the Copa Coca-Cola is now our main source for tapping talent. So, we will be scattered at these games and I will watch the games at BYC,” said Chamangwana.