Roaring Thunders and Wheel Warriors are going neck to neck in the race for the Wheelchair Basketball Tournament championship, the first to be held in the country.
This follows their remarkable success in their second round games played last weekend at the Kachere Rehabilitation Centre Court in Blantyre.
The tournament is being sponsored by United General Insurance (UGI) but run by the Southern Zone Basketball League (SOZOBAL), with support from Blantyre Wheelchair Basketball Club (BWB).
The tournament is among a series of activities under the K3.5 Million Kwacha package that UGI pumped into SOZOBAL to support wheelchair basketball in the Zone.
According to wheelchair basketball chairperson, Charles Nyasa, “the tournament is aimed at testing basketball skills among the players, following an extensive training programme that they have undergone, and to screen for capacity of potential participation at international levels, which is the main vision of SOZOBAL”
The competition was launched two weeks ago where Thunders took no time to secure top spot with victories over Black Spiders and Wheel Warriors.
Zigzaggers secured second position with three points as Wheel Warriors and Black Spiders finished third and fourth respectively with no point each.
During Saturday’s second round games, Thunders continued to roar with purpose as they consolidated top position following a win over Zigzaggers.
In his post-match interview, the Team Captain, Bartholomew Maida revealed his team secret to success.
“For the past two weeks, we have been training hard both individually and as a team. These interactions provided a fertile platform for discussing various challenges that may hinder the team’s progression to finals and eventually championship,” said Maida.
He later thanked UGI for their commitment to promote the sport and improve the livelihood of people with varying forms of disabilities.
Also on Saturday, Wheel Warriors upped their game to rise into second position 2.
Inspired by their talisman Thocco Goodson, who scored a total a 22 baskets in two matches, Warriors ruthlessly overcame Zigzaggers and Black Spiders who now occupy third and fourth positions respectively.
Speaking at the end of Saturday’s games, Vice Secretary General of Basketball Association of Malawi (BASMAL), Banthari Banda was left satisfied with what he saw.
He then assured the players of BASMAL’s support in procuring proper wheelchairs, specific for basketball.
“I have seen some real improvement among players in terms of skills, guarding, movement and fair play. Of course there is a need to improve on the scoring skills and rebound response but I am sure we will get there. As the bridge between Government and the sport, BASMAL promises to carry out facilitative measures to ensure the spread of wheelchair basketball, not only in the Southern Zone but also in the Central and Northern zones of Malawi. I am sure that by the end of next year, we will have formed a Wheelchair Basketball National Team” said Banda.
The tournament will conclude this Sunday, 19th November when Thunders and Warriors shall battle for honours while Black Spiders and Zigzaggers will fight for the third place.