Scorpions, Nyala crowned FMB hockey tournament champions

Blantyre-based hockey team giants Scorpions men and Nyala ladies club have clinched the newly introduced 2018 FMB 6 A-Side two-day national tournament which was played on Sunday in Blantyre.

FMB officials watching the proceedings of the men finals between Nyala and Scorpions.-Photo by Chipambano Mbewe, Nyasa Times

Scorpions celebrating the win-Photo by Chipambano Mbewe, Nyasa Times

Nyala ladies team captain Grace Jana receiving the trophy from Thenga Chipeta of FMB-Photo by Chipambano Mbewe, Nyasa Times

Second placed ladies team Simba players posing with their medals.Photo by Chipambano Mbewe, Nyasa Times

The first ever national competition was organised to mark the launch of the national hockey league which will see hockey  teams from the three regions of Malawi playing together.

The competition is being sponsored by the First Merchant Bank (FMB) at a tune of K3 million.

The two-day competition brought together a total of 16 teams of which 9 was for men’s  while  ladies category had 7 teams.

The participating teams came from Lilongwe, Blantyre, Zomba and Mangochi.

Men’s winners Scorpions reached into finals after beating Braves 1-0 before demolishing Nyala 9-8 in the finals thorough post match penalties after the match ended in a goaless draw in the normal 20 minutes and 10 minutes of extra time.

In the ladies category Nyala club booked their final place after beating Braves ladies 1-0 in the semi final battle and went on to win the championship after a 2-0 win over Simba through penalties after a
goaless draw in the regulation time.

Speaking after the finals Scorpions captain Innocent Poi Sabola said he was very much excited to be champions in a national competition which he said  wasn’t easy.

“The tournament was very tough because every team came with a strong squad and to become winners its just a grace of God. I just thank my fellow players for fighting hard with one spirit and it is my hope
that if we continue like this we might also win the cup in pending national league,” said Sabola.

Nyala captain Mayayi Nhlane described the loss as a painful one but he quickly said that they will go back to their drawing board and correct their mistakes so that when the national competition starts they
should not face the same weaknesess.

“Scorpions are our rivals so losing to them always brings pain in our hearts but we have confidence that one day we’ll beat them. As of today we just congratulate them for being victors,” said Nhlane.

In the ladies category captain for Nyala Grace Jana described the win as a result of good preparation and hard work among the players.

She said as a team after hearing rumours about the coming of the tournament they intensified for a serious and every player was commited in every session.

“Honestly we played as team and before the tournament I had all the hopes that we’ll win the title because our team is combined by experienced and upcoming youngstars who could play throughout without
getting tired while other teams were dominated by aged players,”  said Jana.

Simba captain Trinity Chilembwe said; “Yes we’ve lost and its a difficult situation to accept but still more we are very much happy because we’ve seen some positives interms of improvement in our style
of play, so teams should be carefull when they will be meeting us again,”

In his remark FMB Marketing Manager Widdey Nsona said they were very much impressed with the kind play displayed by all the participating teams during the competition.

He said as the sponsors they expect to see stiff competition because that’s a sign which shows that our Malawi National Hockey team will have a strong squad and be able to compete and win in international
competitions.

“We want to make hockey grow in the country and take it to a higher level where every Malawian can start talking about this sport. We have passion this is why we decided to hike the sponsorship from K2.5
million to K3 million in this year despite economic hiccups which Malawi is facing at the moment,” said Nsona.

Southern Region Hockey Committee (SRHC) Treasure and Media Spokesperson Richmond Liabunya described the tournament as  a successful one in all the levels which include descipline, kind of
play, officiation from umpires just to mention a few.

He said sometimes they encounter some challenges when hosting such competitions but this time around they was a sign of maturity and respecting of hockey rules which needs to continue in all the competitions.

Liabunya further congratulated all the invited teams for honouring the invitation by coming and attend the tournament.

“This was one of the best competition, very exciting because of skills. We are applauding FMB for bening our true partners for many years now. With the increase of their sponsorship I can see the competition producing massive talent,” said Liabunya.

After the tournament Swilanga Padambo scooped the player of the tournament and ladies top goalscorer awards.

In men’s side Thomas Malinki was voted player of the tournament while McDonald Uzuman won the top goalscorer award.

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