Complex Tigresses have retained the Airtel Money Netball Championship following their 44-40 triumph over Blue Eagles Sisters during a fiercely-contested final at Katoto Secondary School in Mzuzu on Saturday.
Although a fantastic success, the win did not come on a silver platter as Tigresses, who received a cool K7 million (US$15556) prize, sweated blood to outsmart the relentless Eagles, who were having their first-ever feel of domestic netball finals at the national stage.
Eagles led 11-9 in the first quarter before Tigresses overturned the tables to lead 21-20 in the second quarter and 33-27 in the third segment.
But what was interesting in this thrilling encounter was the sight of Diamonds’ players cheering on their old rivals, according to Tigresses’ coach Peace Chawinga-Kalua.
Although, the morale seemed to be a direct moan over their 34-35 loss to the Eagles in the semi-finals, Diamonds’ action helped to raise the spirits of the Tigresses, according to Chawinga-Kalua.
“I thank God for letting us defend the Airtel Money crown and I appreciate the hard-working spirit of our players. We were also humbled to Money Championship, the Rainbow Paints Netball Series, the GOtv Netball and the Presidential Championships, but lost the 2014 OG Issa Southern Region Netball League (SRNL) to Diamonds.
Diamonds found solace in beating Civonets 45-33 during a third-place play-off encounter.
Surprises emerged in individual awards where for the first time in netball history Tigresses and Diamonds failed to win a single accolade.
The best player of the tournament award went to Prison Sisters’ Ethel Ng’ambi while Eagles’ Cecilia Mtukule, Thunder Queens’ Thandi Galeta and Young Sisters Mervis Kayange were named best shooter, centre and defender, respectively. Rabecca Dulanya emerged as the best umpire.
Airtel Money country director Francis Maseketsa said they are proud to be associated with netball in the country and they promised continued support.