Diamonds crowned champions in Presidential Netball Cup

Kukoma  Diamonds have claimed their second title in 2018-19 season  after defeating Blue Eagles Sisters 37-35  in a pulsating final of the Presidential Netball Cup.

Minister of sports Grace Chiumia greeting players
Part of the action
Part of the action
Netball export Mwai Kumwenda presents cheque to Eagles player

Diamonds supporters on crowd nine

In front of a new world record crowd approximately more than 2000  at Blantyre Youth Centre Arena, the Diamonds avenged last season’s defeat in the same cup against the same team.
A blistering opening quarter set up Blue Eagles victory with 6-7 lead but Diamonds withstood a spirited second quarter fightback with 18-17 lead.
Diamonds accuracy was the difference between the two sides as they had 11 more shots on goal than their opponent.
It was Alinafe Kamwala who notched in more baskets for Diamonds  and praised the work done by the players in front of her.
“The drive to the circle was amazing; the girls were bringing the ball down really quickly and Jessica  did a great job in keeping goal defence busy which kept me in a one-on-one situation which was perfect,” Kamwala said.
Another Diamonds experienced player Caroline Ngwira  said she was proud of her team for bouncing back from their loss earlier in the  first quarter.
“To finish like that in front of our home crowd, to have family here and to play with that particular group of girls, to play with the likes of Towera Vinkhumbo, it’s wonderful to step into the defensive circle with such a wonderful athlete,” Ngwira  said.
“A final Cup netball, that’s what it comes down to; hard work and just grinding away. Our attackers were just sensational and capitalised on every tip and touch that we got and the first quarter set us up nicely.”
Coach Griffin Saenda Jnr  started with almost the same line-up from Saturday’s semi-final against Civonets  with the likes of Sheila Dimba,Towera Vinkhumbo,Caroline Ngwira,Bridget Gawaza,Jessica Sanudi.
Blue Eagles also maintained their semi final squad as Takondwa Lwazi,Ruth Kaliyenda and Mary Banya were part of the squad.
The Eagles  Sisters were the dominant team early but lost the energy in the last quarter.
For Diamonds, Caroline Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbo were at their miserly best in defence and Kamwala  and Sanudi  were only too happy to convert their turnovers in attack.
Diamonds led by as much as 3 goals mid-way through the third  quarter as the Diamonds wings Shiela Dimba  and Bridget Gawaza  continued to have a major influence and Kamwala  was standing up to the intense pressure of the Blue Eagles defence.
But some brilliant long-range shooting by Takondwa Lwazi and Mary Banya late in the quarter saw the area 30 out fit cut the margin at half-time.
Blue Eagles tried to come back into the game   but the clock beat them and the Diamonds players plus their supporters danced pelete before the Minister of Sports Grace Obama Chiume presented a glittering trophy to Kukoma Diamonds.
For being champions,Diamonds received K3 million while runners up Blue Eagles went home with K2 million.
 Individual Awards
Best Shooter
Jessy Kamwendo
Thunder Queens
Best Centre
Lusungu Muyaba
Mimosa Queens
Best Defender
Beuty Nyangulu
Civo Nets
Best Player
Molly Chisambiro
Blue Eagles
Best Umpire
Titus Wakhama
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