Thousands of people gathered at Khonjeni Community Centre at Khonjeni in Thyolo Central Constituency to witness the grand finale of Ben Phiri Trophy on Saturday that showcased exceptional grassroots talent in football, bawo and netball.
The tournament, bankrolled at K12 million, saw the winners going away with mouth-watering cash prizes, glittering trophies as well as medals and the huge crowd that gathered watched exceptional talent in football and netball that if top teams in the both disciplines had watched they could have poached talented players from.
Ben Phiri, who is aspiring to become Member of Parliament for Thyolo Central Constituency, said this was the second edition of the tournament and God willing he intends to sustain it for as long as he strives in his business ventures.
“I am a bonafide child of this area having been born and grew up here. I know the needs of the people here and one of them is recreation and entertainment.
“The youths need to be empowered and I saw that one way of bringing them together in unity was through this tournament and I am so pleased with the enthusiasm that it attracted by both the youth and the elderly throughout the constituency,” Phiri said.
The tournament attracted three levels of participation — active community leaguers, primary and secondary athletes and to spice up the next edition, Phiri has pledged to add K1.5 million to the K12 million to be channeled towards an academic school quiz by both primary and secondary schools.
“I was impressed with the zeal and enthusiastic participation from the schools and I want the students to realize that education and sports should go together. I have done this because I want the students to improve in their grades because I have heard that the district’s schools performance at MSCE level has gone down.
“I want to encourage determination amongst the youths because in them I see great leaders. We have very ambitious youths who just need good guidance and one of them is to provide recreational services best tailored to suit their interests.”
One of the social amenities Phiri provided for the area are enhancement of Khonjeni health centre through an ambulance, solar electricity, building extra primary school blocks, bridges and also the provision of a youth resource centre and he promised to rehabilitate the football pitch and netball court.
“This area has always been underdeveloped and I want us together to make it possible that we can be ranked as a well developed community,” he said.
Organizing committee coordinator, Daniel Waile said the tournament rolled out last September and attracted 40 active league teams, 30 in netball, 29 in primary school, 14 at secondary level and 20 in Bawo.
“The tournament was divided into two groups whose winners qualified for the grand finale that we are witnessing here,” he said.
He said the youths were very active and unearthed some very good talent in both football and netball that they are in the process of exposing some of them for top flight leagues in the country in both disciplines.
The crowd enjoyed a glamorous event and the exceptional active football final between DK Stars and Chalkmen that ended stalemate and had to be decided through penalties in which Chalkmen carried the day.
The trophies arrived on a convoy and paraded by primary school girls models much to the excitement of the huge crowd.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :