Escom defends Presidential netball trophy

By Collins Mtika, NyasaTimes

Escom Sisters proved that they are a force to reckon with in Malawi’s netball circles when they successfully defended the MK30 million (about $200 000) Presidential National Netball Cup at the dilapidated Rosedale Netball Court in Mzuzu.

Bingu Tigresses won the Trophy in the inaugural year (2009) but have lost it to Escom Sisters twice now.

This year 12 teams qualified for the national finals out of the 700 that entered the competition when it commenced on 1st April, 2011.

The Power Sisters trounced the flamboyant Bingu Tigresses by 47 baskets to 41 in a tight final encounter that started 20 minutes late because Tigress complained about the use of international green star Mwayi Kumwenda saying she did not have clearance to participate in the competition.

Presidential Champions: Escom Sisters

Mwayi was on loan to Peninsula Waves of Australia for six months.

Tigress played under protest after they failed to see Mwayi’s clearance letter.

Escom veteran Coach Griffin Saenda told NyasaTimes in an interview that the issue of Mwayi was only a scapegoat.

“Last week we beat them without Mwayi. We are a big team and they know that.

But Tigress’s Coach Peace Kaluwa, who had correspondence from both Netball Association o f Malawi  (NAM) and Peninsula Waves, insisted that Mwayi should have been suspended and her team disqualified from the competition for using an uncleared player.

The towering shooter scored most of 47 baskets, which proved right Tigress’s fears.

Tigress got MK 2 million and individual trophies but they were booed by spectators when they did the ‘Chara mwamba’ political trademark of their sponsor Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika.

Escom carted home MK4 million as champions, individual trophies for players and a giant broken Trophy, courtesy of NAM.

The Trophy, which was brought by NAM Secretary General Hellen Mpinganjira, had three tripods that connect to base unfixed and all officials failed to fix them for a good one hour. This delayed the throw off which was scheduled for 1 pm local time.

The officials then bought four sachets of cheap glue (cost MK30 each) and fixed the base to the trophy thereby doing away with the tripods that connect the base to the trophy.

Minister of Sports Lucious Kanyumba presented the Trophy to the Champions unawares as the heavy base was only temporarily fixed.

MTL Queens thrashed Blue Eagles by 56 baskets to 47 to clinch the third position to get MK 1 million and MK800, 000 respectively.

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