After sponsoring Championship play-offs for Northern Zone Basketball League (Nozobal) and Central Zone Basketball League (Cezobal) to a total tune of K2 million, Lilongwe based company- G.Y Imports and Exports says it is ready to sponsor all the three basketball zones as well as a national championship as long as there is a positive response from Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal), the zonal leagues and fans.
The commitment was made on Sunday evening by G.Y Imports and Exports managing director Griffin Kalua after presenting prizes to winners of Cezobal championships held over two weeks at Civo Basketball Court.
Speaking after presenting the prizes, Kalua said his company was pleased to be associated with the development basketball in the country.
“Basketball used to be very popular in the past but for some reasons the standards and popularity of the game went down. Depending on the response that we are going to get from Basmal, the zonal leagues and the fans, we are prepared to sponsor the three zones and at national level,” said Kalua, whose firm deals in stationery, ICT equipment, furniture and building materials.
Chairperson for Cezobal Hellen Chabunya hailed G.Y Imports and Exports for coming to the rescue of Cezobal, which was running without sponsors.
She expressed hope that the company would come full force to sponsor the league again next season.
Chabunya urged basketball players, team officials and fans to maintain a high level of discipline to attract sponsors and make basketball a family sport, which people can watch with their families and friends.
Cougars retained the Cezobal Senior League championship after overpowering Mimbulu in a best-of-three-series final contest played over three days at the Civo court.
The championship, which was sponsored to the tune of K1.2 million involved all the three Cezobal leagues of Men Seniors, Women and League B.
Defending champions Cougars and Mimbulu met in the final contest for the Men Senior League after concurring ABC Lions and Central Knights respectively in the championship play-offs played over a two-week period at the Civo court.
Central Knights and ABC finished on top and second position, respectively in the 10-team league but were both knocked out by the two finalists in the championship preliminaries last week. Knights fell to fourth-placed Mimbilu with the Lions playing second fiddle to third-placed Cougars.
Just like the preliminaries, the final was played on best-of-three series format that saw Mimbulu winning the first tie 58-40. But when everybody expected the experienced Mimbulu to finish off the contest during the second game played on Saturday night, the Cougars staged a dramatic fight back to beat their opponents by 59-51 baskets and take the final to the wire.
During the third tie on Sunday evening, Cougars came from behind to beat Mimbulu 64-51 and reclaim the championship.
Mimbulu led the Cougars by five baskets after the first two quarters but their inefficiency in front of goal cost them the game.
Cougars, on the other hand proved strong in defence as well as on the counter and frustrated their opponents with three-point baskets, which the opponents tried to emulate but in vain.
Cougars captain Takondwa Mengezi attributed the victory to mental strength and hard work on the part of his side with his counterpart Edgar Ng’ongola attributed the loss to change of tactics by his side during the second game.
For winning the championship, Cougars received a trophy, gold medals and K400,000 from G.Y Imports and Exports. League B Champions Dream Team and Women champions Angels were presented with trophies, gold medals and K200,000 each by the sponsors.
The sponsors also awarded Mimbulu’s power forward Mada Montana and Angels’ point guard Rose Mkanda with K50,000 cheques each for emerging the Most Valuable Players in their respective categories.
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