Malawian hockey champions intend to leave for Zambia on Wednesday, August 17, for Lusaka where they will participate in Zambia Hockey Association (ZHA) international invitational tournament from Friday to Sunday (August 19-21.)
Genetrix, the first all-Malawian hockey team to fight for domestic honours, has participated in four international tournaments abroad and two club internationals at home.
The first home club internationals was in 2010 when Hippo from Zimbabwe visited Malawi and the second was this year in July when Lusaka Sharks graced the event. Both times, the men’s Genetrix men were runners-up to the visiting teams.
Outside Malawi, Genetrix men won the Phoenix Assurance Cup in May 2013 in Zambia.
The team, formed 22 years ago in 1994, was founded by ex-Kamuzu Academy students to accommodate more locals to participate in domestic tournaments which were dominated by foreign nationals resident and born in Malawi.
The founding members were Masautso Malaicha, Innocent Sanga, Picket Kamvazina, Chigomezgo Thindwa, Jesman Chintsanya, Felix Tembwe, Martin Magomero, Jabber Alide, Ernest Kuyeya, Chikondi Mlia, late Bincoln Chibwazi, late Charles Makwalo, Barnold Saka, Ephraim Mzengo, Madalitso Kuyera, Sangwani Gondwe, Archangel Masina among others.
After dominating on the domestic scene and trying a shot at internationals, the team decided to make it a must that they should participate in more of such tournaments to gain more experience after realising that their fitness level was low such that most players could not last 70 minutes and some of the players were gripped with fear in awe of their experienced opponents.
The team also lacked proper equipment especially face masks — that led to many short corners being scored — ball guards, finger guards, knee guards and composite sticks which proved to be very good on the turf in fact.
“Genetrix was the only team using wooden sticks and our sticks were not bothered to be tested before games,” said the team spokesman and founding member Chigomezgo Thindwa.
“The experiences learnt were vital. So was the exposure — many teams wondered if hockey does exist in Malawi until they saw what we could offer. On top of that relationships were established between our club and others.
“Coaches from Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya approached our coaches and gave most insightful feedback and notes and analyses on our system of play and individual players and gave lots of encouragement, which was sportsmanship at its best.
Participation itself was another mile stone for the club and country. The players learnt more on discipline of keeping time, following rules, management and general conduct. The organisers have been impressed with the Malawi team on this.
“At a tournament in Lusaka, Zambia in December 2011, we only got one green card throughout the whole tournament, hence we picked the fair play team award of the competition,” Thindwa said.
He said Genetrix Club is keen to participate in this year’s tournament and intends to travel to Zambia departing by road on Wednesday August 17th and returning Monday August 22nd. However, they need to raise approximately K1.7 million for the trip and have since asked well-wishers and the corporate world to assist.
“We’ve trained very hard, covering all the weaknesses we’ve had in the past and we are ready to ably represent Malawi,” Thindwa said.
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