Central Zone Basketball League (CEZOBAL) Champions, Brave Hearts, are the 2017 Kings of men’s basketball in the country after lifting the Basketball Association of Malawi (BASMAL) Men’s National Club Championship at the weekend.
They beat fellow Central Region side Central Knights 85-50 in the finals at the ABC Gym in Lilongwe where the two day tournament was held.
Eight teams were involved; three each from the South and Centre while the North had two.
In their first match, Brave Hearts saw off Nkhulande of Mzuzu 59-32 before overcoming Central Knights with a convincing 89-54 victory to cruise into the semifinals.
They went on to demonstrate sheer class and bravery to put the Knights to the sword again, this time in the final, to stamp their authority in the men’s game.
Deposed champions Bricks from the South finished third following a 76-56 success over Magang’a also from the South.
The upset of the tournament came on day 1 when minnows Mzuzu Pistons stunned heavyweights Cougars of Lilongwe 76-73.
BASMAL general secretary Edgar Ng’ong’ola said his association was impressed with the level of competitiveness during the tournament.
“As a federation, we are very satisfied with the level of competition and improvement among our teams. We saw some fast, exciting and passionate basketball and in the end, the best team won and the runners up deserved to be in the final. We also witnessed a surprise result when Pistons beat Cougars, which clearly reflects how the game is growing. We are indeed making positive strides in the sport,” said Ng’ong’ola.
He then lavished praise on the champions while challenging the rest of the teams.
“Brave Hearts roped in some Zimbabwean players who are technically gifted, and have brought a new dimension to the game. The onus is now on the other teams to raise their game and compete with the champions,” he said.
As winners, Brave Hearts received K500,000, The Knights pocketed K350,000 while K150,000 went to Bricks.
The tournament was sponsored by GY Imports and Exports to the tune of K3.2 million.