Regional netball giants have been seeded into the top eight in the newly introduced K8 million Mpico Gateway Mall Netball Challenge, which will see the winner pocketing K1.5 million.
The seeded giants include Blue Eagles Sisters, Civonets, Mafco Soldiers and newly crowned Airtel Money regional champions Green Sisters.
According to CRNL chairman Fanwell Katengeza, the four will be joined in the top eight by four teams that will succeed in preliminary knock-out games set to kick-off on June 4, 2016 at the Gateway Shopping Mall court in Lilongwe’s Area 47.
“We are starting the competition on June 4, 2016 with preliminary knock-out games and the finals have been set for July 2, 2016. The finals will involve the top eight teams, who will play on league basis,” said Katengeza on the side-lines of the official launching ceremony for the competition that took place last Saturday at the Gateway Mall.
Apart from the launch, sponsors Malawi Property Investment Company, (MPICO) unveiled the newly designed netball court that is expected to host all the games.
Board chairman for the property investment firm Dye Mawindo, speaking during the launching ceremony said the company thought of sponsoring netball because it is the sport that has been putting Malawi on the world map.
“Many companies have been sponsoring football but we are not doing well in football. As a company, we thought of supporting those that are doing well,” said Mawindo, referring to the Queen’s excellent showing in international competitions and Mwayi Kumwenda’s recent achievement as World Games Sports Association athlete of the year.
Sports and Culture Minister Grace ‘Obama’ Chiumia, who presided over the launch and opening of the new court hailed Mpico for coming to the league’s rescue.
“I’m told CRNL has never had a sponsorship of this kind apart from sponsorships for national competitions, which start from district and regional levels. It is my hope that the league will guard this sponsorship jealously to keep the relationship with Mpico and encourage the sponsors to do more,” said Chiumia.
During activities marking the launch, Blue Eagles Sisters defeated Civonets 48-36 with Lilongwe Power beating Dowa Police 18-15