Sunbird Nkopola on Saturday, October 21, 2017 retained the Fifa/Fam Beach Soccer Cup after edging their cousins Sunbird Livingstonia 1-0 during the national finals of the tournament played at Livingstonia Beach Campsite in Salima.
Ten top teams from Beach Soccer Malawi’s five zones took part in the day-long national finals, which saw the defending champions Sunbird Nkopola facing hosts Sunbird Livingstonia Beach during the final match.
A first half strike from the penalty spot by Junior Makinka was all the Mangochi boys needed to defend their crown and claim the K1.5 million top prize.
Coach Ganizani Chilunda saluted his charges for working hard to defend the title: “It was not easy at all. Our opponents came prepared and they really wanted to get the trophy. But our boys put up everything into the game and followed the instructions we gave them,” said Chilunda.
His counterpart Eston Sikwizi conceded defeat, saying the better team won: “That’s what happens in a competition. One team had to win the competition and the better team has won it. We will try our luck again next year,” he said.
As runners up, Sunbird Livingstonia received K700,000 and silver medals. Mangochi Escom claimed the K500,000 cash prize after defeating Vinthenga from Nkhotakota 6-5 on post-match penalties following a 3-3 draw in regulation time.
In the individual categories, Vinthenga goalkeeper Lameck Kumwenda pocketed K20,000 after being named best goalkeeper with Makinka and James Chikola of Livingstonia sharing K10,000 apiece after emerging as join top goal scorers. Each of the two had 10 goals.
Speaking when presenting the prizes, Fam first vice president James Mwenda hailed beach Soccer Malawi for allowing a good portion of the sponsorship money towards team prizes.
“Our policy at Fam is that 60 percent of any sponsorship money should go towards prizes and 40 percent towards administration. Apart from improving the standards of the game, we want to players benefiting from such competitions,” said Mwenda, who was accompanied by Fam executive member Rashid Ntelera.
Beach Soccer Malawi president Kondwani Gondwe and his general secretary Davies Sado took turns thanking Fam for allocating K7 million towards this year’s competition. Gondwe requested the association to further adjust the sponsorship amount to enable the next champion take home K2 million.