Silver Strikers were crowned winners of the 2014 Standard Bank Knock-Out Trophy on Saturday afternoon at Civo Stadium in Lilongwe after Rodrick Gonani’s vital goal against his former side Azam Tigers.
The central bank sponsored side claimed K9 million cheque from the the commercial bank, Standard and a trophy before a huge crowd, including Ghana captain Asamoah Gyan, who jetted in Friday for UNAIDS’ Protect the Goal Campaign. Gyan presented the cup to Silver Strikers alongside Sports Minister Grace Obama Chiumia and Standard Bank Managing Director Andrew Mashanda.
The cup was brought to the stadium by a banner ship (parachute).
Tigers fought hard but could not prevent Silver from winning the silverware having lost twice in the final.
Silver were without key striker Chawanangwa Kawonga whereas three Tigers players were on Malawi under-20 assignment in Zambia.
Ironically, Tigers coach Frank Ndawa was until last season Silver’s coach. He won the trophy with Mighty Wanderers two seasons ago before being hired by Silver.
Silver Strikers coach Stain Chirwa told Nyasa Times the silverware was a “great relief” to him
“It is a relief and happiness because we were under severe pressure to win and we didn’t start well.,” said Chirwa.
“I am happy that we have broken the cup jinx. When we won against Wanderers in the semi-finals I had all the hope that we would win the trophy because the last time we won the Standard Bank Cup in 2007, we beat Wanderers in the semi-finals before defeating Escom United in the final.”
He added: “It was more important than all the others,”
Azam Tigers coach Franco Ndawa conceded the defeat, but hailed his troops for reaching far as the final despite his team being voted into the prestigious cup.
“We tried our best but it was not our day. Let me congratulate Silver for being crowned the champions. We will now focus our attention in the League,” he said.
Tigers’ technical director Robin Alufandika had no kind words for Fam, accusing the association of proceeding with the final despite the absence of his three key players- Isaac Kaliati, Stanley Sanudi and Boston Kabango.
The three were with the Malawi U-20 side that was playing Zambia away in the Africa Youth Championship. Silver were also without their trump card Chawangwa Kaonga, who was with the junior national team in Zambia.
The Bankers progressed through into the final after beating Mighty Wanderers 3-0 in the penalties, while the Kau-Kau boys ousted Mafco FC in the penalties as well.–(Additional reporting by Alex Mwezalumo, Nyasa Times)Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :