The K30 million Mo 626 College Basketball Tournament reaches its climax this weekend when the finals will be played at the African Bible College (ABC) Macon Gymnasium, in Lilongwe.
The showdown begins on Friday with the semifinal matches, before the champions are known on Saturday.
A total of 8 teams have made it this far, 4 in each of the men’s and ladies categories.
The central region has dominated by sending 5 teams to the Best 8, the south has 3 while all 5 teams from the north were knocked out.
The host team ABC, has both of its teams in the last 8 while the other slots have been filled by Chancellor College (Chanco) Polytechnic, Bunda, Malawi College of Accountancy( MCA) Lilongwe and Blantyre and Natural Resources College (NRC).
The two MCA teams make up group B of the men’s category as ABC and Poly are in group A.
The ladies category has ABC and Bunda in group A while Chanco and NRC are in group B.
Teams in group A will face those in group B for a place in the finals.
The first semifinal fixture will be in the ladies category, involving ABC and Chanco from 2pm on Friday, before NRC and Bunda will take to the court in a derby, from 4pm.
Men’s semis will start from 6pm, with derbies between MCA Lilongwe and ABC, to be followed by another, pitting MCA Blantyre and rivals Poly from 8pm.
The semifinal losers in both categories will clash in the third place playoffs from 8am on Saturday.
The ladies final will start at 2pm while the men’s decider will start at 4pm.
Basketball Association of Malawi (BASMAL) general secretary Edgar Ng’ong’ola says they are expecting a great weekend of stiff and entertaining basketball.
“As BASMAL, our expectations are high. This is the biggest sponsorship to have been given to basketball, so everyone wants to be part of the winning team. The hype is set and the teams are geared for battle. Talking of preparations, all is on point and we can’t wait to get to Friday and Saturday to wrap it up,” said Ng’ong’ola.
Winner of each category will cart home a whooping K2 million, while the runners up will pocket K1 million.
K500,000 will go to the third placed teams in both categories.
There will also be lots of giveaways among them K1 million, which will go to the most disciplined team.
The tournament was launched on 28 October this year at the Blantyre Youth Centre where State Vice President Saulos Chilima was guest of honour.
A total of 22 colleges took part in the competition.
The tournament witnessed a tragic week in November, when four players were killed in a road accident at Mtakataka in Dedza on November 26, while travelling to Mzuzu from the quarterfinals of the competition which took place at the Malawi University of Science and Technology (MUST) in Thyolo.