Mzuzu based Nkhulande Basketball team have won the Northern Region Basketball Tournament for the eleventh time in a row after beating Moyale Barracks.
In the first game, Moyale won 76 – 66 on Sunday, and then on Monday in game two Nkhulande won narrowly with 65 – 62.
Nkhulande then won the final game on Tuesday in which Moyale was leading in first three sets but failed to defend their baskets. At the end of the fourth quarter Nkhulande won with 76 – 71.
In post-match interview, coach for Nkhulande Aaron Manda said team spirit helped them to win the game.
“The spirit in the team is never die attitude, we didn’t play well during the season and Moyale managed to beat us twice, so we wanted at least to make sure that this time around we should work to win the game, that’s why we caught up with them.
“At the moment we are going to start training soon after a short break preparing for the National Tournament in March to be held in Lilongwe and we are going to beef up the squad especially from our junior team,” said Manda.
Coach for Moyale Barracks Dean Chipofya accepted the loss saying his team failed to defend baskets in the last quarter.
“It has taken us a long way to come up with this thing, we are building a team, so sometimes building a team is something very tough.
“We lost the last quarter after a wide gap in the first and second quarter, we missed a lot of shots in the last quarter and that is what cost. But let me assure you that next season we will come up with different style of play, and we are kicking exposure as we are just playing because of passion but there is no money and we only played in the Region. Nkhulande is a good side with more experienced players,” said Chipofya.
Viranji Nkhwazi, Northern Region Basketball Chairperson, said the game of basketball is little by little coming to where it belongs in years back.
“We have delayed to finish this because of covid-19 that hit us hard. It was tough for sponsorship and planning but now we have finished the league. There will be National finals for which top three teams will go and participate at national level and I encourage the teams to keep training for the event.
“Basketball has been always above some sporting activities, but there is a big age gap between the generation that we played and the generation that has started playing. But so far we are gaining back because the youth are now involved in the sports and pushing it forward. Next season or so Basketball will get back to where it was before,” said Nkhwazi.
He added by asking companies to bring in sponsorship to the tournament.
The winner of the competition went home with Medals and a trophy while the runners up went home with medals only.