Lilongwe-based Mipuniro Spikers are the only foreign team at the Zambia Volleyball Association (ZAVA) Open which throws off on Friday in Lusaka, Zambia.
Mipuniro, who left Lilongwe for the games on Wednesday and arrived the following day, are lodging at University of Zambia Graduate School of Business/Commonwealth Lodge and are up against 11 Zambian counterparts.
The games will be played across four venues— Olympic Youth Development Center (OYDC), University of Zambia (UNZA), National Sports Development Centre (NASDEC) and Zamsure Sports Complex all in Lusaka.
After a technical meeting on Thursday evening 1830 at University of Zambia, Mipuniro are in Group C together with Nkwazi and Nakonde.
Group A has Indeni, Flight and Lusaka City, B has Chalube, Green Buffaloes Volleyball Club (GBVC) and Chawama while D has Eagles, Napsa and University of Zambia (UNZA).
The 12-man Mipuniro squad comprises Musatero Nkhonzi as team manager, Simbani Banda as head coach, Trust Mtegha as player/assistant coach and setters — Chawanangwa Mughogho, Nhlanhla Kwenda; spikers — Wills Tablet Damaseke, Christopher Guns Kauta, Steve 99 Banda, Horace Kwengwere, Ananias Mfune and liberos — Ibrahim Ibra Iron and Joseph Chiona.
Mipuniro Spikers team manager Musatero Nkhozi said they are upbeat and confident to raise the Malawi flag high since they have assembled a very good squad.
Spikers get such recognition to be invited for the ZAVA Open after a team from Chipata, the Taliban Forces visited Malawi with their basketball colleagues to play Bravehearts at African Bible College (ABC).
“When the team travelled back to Chipata, they spread our good volleyball skills throughout Zambia and this caught the attention of ZAVA to invite us for this yearly event. We are so humbled by this gesture.
“This will be our first time as a team to play volleyball outside the borders of Malawi. Of course, this is just the beginning of such trips to mostly other neighboring countries.
On the local scene, Mipuniro are arguably, one of the best team as underlined by league and tournament rankings in the past three years as well as a number of individual awards won by its players in various tournaments.
The team was initially formed by ex-college students as a pastime initiative, to beat boredom of inactiveness soon after leaving corridors of the colleges. Afterwards, the players got inspired to look beyond just social games by registering for the Central Region Volleyball League (CRVL) in 2015.
However, Mipuniro are under suspension from playing CRVL games, together with Lilongwe Spikers, after the two teams’ continued boycott of their scheduled match fixtures involving Kamuzu Barracks (KB) men’s senior team, contrary to the judgement and verdict passed on the case involving the soldiers.
SRVL then softened the punishment by allowing the team to participate at the ZAVA Open as well as to play strength-testing matches following an appeal.
CRVL took into consideration the promotion of the sport and promoting sportsmanship, and the fact that the suspension given to Mipuniro was not in any way done out of ill intentions but enforcement of the CRVL regulations.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :