Mipuniro come 8th at Zambia Volleyball Open

One of Malawi’s top volleyball club, Lilongwe-based Mipuniro Spikers came 8th out of 12 participating teams in the Zambia Volleyball Association (ZAVA) Open that was held in Lusaka Zambia from Friday.

Mipuniro at Zambia Volleyball Open
Mipuniro during the tournament

Mipuniro Spikers were the only foreign team at the tournament and were up against 11 Zambian counterparts. They were in Group C together with Nkwazi and Nakonde while Group A had Indeni, Flight and Lusaka City.

Group B had Chalube, Green Buffaloes Volleyball Club (GBVC) and Chawama while D had Eagles, Napsa and University of Zambia (UNZA).

In their first game against Nkwazi, Mipuniro lost 0-3 (18-25; 17-25; 24-26) but won their second match 3-1 against Nakonde (25-19; 25-20; 23-25; 25-22) to reach the quarterfinals.

But they went on to lose 0-3 (16-25; 22-25; 11-25) in the quarterfinal against the the tournament’s defending champions, Indeni, who came second.

Mipuniro also missed out on individual awards that went to Chalube’s Wisdom Muchindu as Best Attacker and Mushe Iluya as Best Blocker in men’s category.

The women’s Best Attacker was Elizabeth Zulu of Spiking Stars while Red Arrows’ Chilombo Kaumbwa was Best Blocker.

The final honours table for the men’s category was as follows:

  1. Chalube
  2. Indeni
  3. Green buffaloes
  4. Nkwazi
  5. Eagles
  6. Unza
  7. Fight
  8. Mipuniro
  9. City of Lusaka
  10. Red Arrows
  11. Nakonde
  12. Napsa

The tournament was also used to select the best players to be considered for Zambia’s national team duties for both men and women.

The 12-man Mipuniro squad comprised 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.

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) and when they travelled back they spread their good volleyball skills throughout Zambia that eventually caught the attention of ZAVA to invite them for this yearly event.

It was the first time for Mipuniro to play volleyball outside the borders of Malawi.

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.

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