After almost seven years of basketball sponsorship drought, the Northern Zone Basketball League (Nozoball) can now afford a smile with the commitment from G.Y Imports and Exports- the suppliers of ICT equipment, stationery, furniture and sanitaries that they will continue sponsoring basketball in the region.
Managing director of G.Y Imports and Exports Griffin Kalua made the commitment during the prize presentation for the K800,000 G.Y Imports and Exports Nozoball Championship, whose finals were played over the weekend at Katoto Basketball Court in the northern city of Mzuzu.
“We are happy with the way Nozoball has welcomed the sponsorship, the organisation and discipline amongst players and are definitely coming back in a bigger way.
“As a company, our aim is to help in revamping basketball, which used to be second to football while at the same time expressing appreciation for the support we get from basketball players and all our customers,” said Kalua.
Nozoball chairman Vilanji Nkhwazi was all thanks to G.Y Imports and Exports for coming to the league’s rescue.
“I thank God for what has happened. To others, it might look simple thing but considering the state of our country’s economy, this is a big contribution towards the development of basketball here in the north and in Malawi as a whole.
“With the coming in of G.Y Imports and Exports, we expect the teams that disbanded due to lack of sponsorship to be resuscitated,” said Nkhwazi.
The Nozoball chair said players from the region had been playing basketball for the love of the sport and that the coming in of G.Y was a big motivation to the players.
Playing in the finals were Nkhulande and Moyale, who reached the final stage after triumphing in a mini-tournament involving top four teams from the Nozoball league.
The league had five teams- Nkhulande, Moyale, Piston, Ekwendeni and Mzuzu University.
Nkhulande, who were top in the league booked their final berth after beating third-placed Pistons while league runners-up Moyale reached the final after defeating fourth-placed Ekwendeni.
All the games were played on best-of-three format, in which winner of two out of three matches played between two teams went through.
The Nkhulande, Moyale final was also decided by a best-of-three contest which started Friday afternoon and finished on Sunday.
During the first game on Friday, Nkhulande defeated Moyale by 58 baskets against 50. Nkhulande repeated victory over Moyale on Sunday beating the soldiers 61-43 in the second contest to emerge champions before the last play-off.
They were presented with K300,000, a trophy, two basketballs and gold medals right after winning the second match. The third tie was reduced to a formality affair, in which some Moyale players featured for Nkhulande with some Nkhulande players playing for Moyale.
Captain for Nkhulande Chimwemwe Chirwa expressed excitement with the victory, saying hard work had paid for his team.
“We have been training Monday to Friday even before we knew about the sponsorship and today is a happy day for us because we have got a reward for our hard work. This sponsorship is a big motivation to us and we are going to work even harder,” said Chirwa.
Apart from the team prizes, the sponsors also presented K50,000 to Nkhulande player Patrick Chirwa for emerging Most Valuable Player (MVP).
There was also a Slam Dunk and Three-point shooting competition, which saw Nkhulande’s Peter Simfukwe walking away with K10,000 as the best dunker and Paul Monjeza of Pistons receiving a similar amount after winning the Three-point shooting contest.
The final was spiced up by a friendly match between Pistons and Lilongwe based Brave Hearts, which the Mzuzu side won 45-44.
Recently G.Y Imports and Exports sponsored an All Star National Basketball Championship involving the three basketball zones of Southern Zone Basketball League, Central Zone Basketball League and Nozoball to the tune of K3 million.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :