Equity Ladies basketball team, The Hawks and their men counterpart,The Dumas are the 2022 champions of Malawi Basketball Association annual tournament.
The teams were crowned champions after beating newly inaugurated Malawi men and women national teams.
The two Equity Bank teams jetted into Lilongwe to participate in the basketball tournament dubbed Re-launching The National Teams, which is organized by the Basketball Association of Malawi.
Both teams were in high spirits ready to give their best under a chilly weather that took toll on some of the players before they climatized after a series of training. A tournament is an annual event which brings together the players from southern, northern and central parts of the Malawi with the aim of entrenching the country’s sporting culture.
“The tournament takes place annually and the objective is to prepare on upcoming tournaments. Equity were the stronger team and we benefited a lot. Malawi and Kenya now have a great partnership because of basketball. I would love to encourage this partnership to continue because it’s more of building a relationship that will benefit the whole nation because together we are stronger,” said Malawi Basketball Association Secretary General Edgar Ng’ong’ola.
Equity Hawks head coach Sylvia Kamau was optimistic that the tournament will be a game changer to her players. “We have set targets for ourselves this year and we want to retain our premier league and Zone V titles. We want to thank the Bank for this opportunity because were given adequate time to prepare for the tournament and having an opportunity to play beyond our borders. The games were satisfying and won because of that preparation we had. We played the Allstars team from northern part of Malawi and won. For us this is a platform to have the international experience as we look forward to participate in the Zone V,” said Sylvia.
The Hawks who are the silver medalists in the Kenya Basketball Federation Women’s Premier League were first pitted against Bravehearts who bravely fought a losing battle and could not escape the claws of their visiting opponents who won by an unassailable 61-27. The Hawks Shooting Guard Betty Kananu was the top scorer in that game with 13 points to her name. Equity Hawks played consecutive games winning all their five matches. Equity Dumas put up a spirited fight against the Malawi Premier League Champions Bravehearts slipping by a mere 5 points in their first game that ended 42-47.
“We have a little hump to jump on how to win tough games but the next games will be different because we are learning on the go. Two of the second quarters of the game was tough, it was an uphill battle but we will improve in our second game. I thank Equity for supporting us and I know the outing will not be in vain,” said Equity Dumas Head Coach Steph Carrey after the tough game with the Allstars.
The second match between Equity Hawks and Cezobal from Malawi ended 78-38 in favor of the Hawks as the Dumas narrowly lost 58-53their second match against The Allstars of Malawi.
The third game was a double win for both Equity Hawks and The Dumas as they both emerged victorious against Sozobal of Malawi scoring 82:17 and 81:36 respectively. Equity Hawks continued with their impressive form winning 65-13 against Nozoball as the Dumas won their fourth game in the tournament 100-48 against Nozoball men’s team.
After playing teams from different parts of Malawi, the last game of the tournament was between Equity and the Malawian National teams that were being inaugurated. Equity Hawks played their first game winning 53-43 while the Dumas won 70-36 points in the game against the Malawi national team.
Equity point guard Betty Kananu and the Dumas point guard Titus Musembi were named the most valuable players (MVPs) of the tournament. Speaking after the tournament, Kananu was expressed her delight for the accolade. “It was a very challenging game but the ladies brought out their best skills to overcome the opponents,” said Kananu.
Equity Sports coordinator Louise Araka said the teams are in Malawi to play with the best in Africa and prepare for upcoming tournaments. “Malawi has played most of the best teams in Africa and so for us being here will help us to benchmark ourselves and gauge our level of preparedness. This will l enable us to know at what level we classify ourselves in Africa,” she said.