Chimwemwe Bonongwe’s 40 mitre strike was all Ntopwa Super Queens needed to win the FIFA/FAM Under 20 Women’s Football Cup at national level, after edging Mzuzu based CY Topic 1-0.
The towering Bonongwe hammered in the lone goal of the match midway through the second half from a direct free kick to send the packed Chiwembe Stadium into raptures.
The Sunday afternoon encounter, was an even contest between two teams which were in imperious form 24 hours before, cruising past Envirom and Tour Bullets 6 -0 and 5 -1 respectively in the semifinals.
But in the finals, none of the two took full control of the proceedings. It was an open affair which had both sides fluffing some good scoring opportunities.
Captain Chikondi Gondwe and the tournament’s top scorer Maureen Phiri were in a class of their own for Topic while Ntopwa’s Bonongwe, Saliva January and Nyembezi Jere were a marvel to watch.
After the victory a delighted Ntopwa technical director Isaac Osman attributed the success to hard work from the technical panel down to the players.
“Hard work pays. We told the girls not to lose hope but to keep fighting and it worked,” said Osman.
On what the future holds for his team the former Nyasa Big Bullets supporters committee head said “the future looks bright. We have the under 14, this under 20 and the senior sides so there will be a proper transition of players up the ladder.”
He however lamented the lack of enough competitions for the junior teams and called on the corporate world to come in and save the situation.
Speaking of the defeat, Topic coach Levi Mhone blamed it on his girls’ wastefulness.
“We matched them in all areas but failed to take our chances, but still , credit goes to my girls for the good performance,they truly demonstrated that we came here to fight and not as tourists. This will encourage us to do better next time, when we will show the nation that Mzuzu teams can no longer be regarded as underdogs” said Mhone.
Severia Chalira who chairs the National Women’s Football Association described the tournament which started at regional level as a success.
“It’s been a great tournament, from the regional level in Blantyre, Zomba and Mzuzu all the way to the national stage. We are planning to come up with a national under 20 team, so this cup has been used to identify the players who will form that team” said Chalira.
She then expressed disappointment with central region teams who boycotted the tournament because last year the competition ended in suspense without reaching the finale.
“We are disappointed in their conduct. We believe that dialogue and not boycott is the solution to every problem. They have denied their players an opportunity to compete and be spotted for the national under 20 team. But we have engaged them and will sit over the matter to get it resolved once and for all, ” said Chalira.
As champions, Ntopwa pocketed K1 million kwacha while Topic got Mk500,000 kwacha.
Donna’s eggs who made an eleventh hour intervention to sponsor some of the prizes gave away t-shirts and trays containing 30 eggs to each Ntopwa player and trays containing 18 eggs each to all Topic players.
In individual awards, Phiri got K50,000 kwacha for her ruthless scoring touch, having netted four goals at the national finals.