All roads led to Blantyre Youth Centre on Saturday morning where the newly-introduced National Bank of Malawi-sponsored Mo626 College Basketball Championship was launched.
Vice-President Saulo Chilima, who was guest of honour, set the pace by featuring in a launch match between Malawi colleges alumni team and current students select side.
The veterans came from behind to beat the students 46-43, with Chilima sealing the victory for the old guards with seconds to the final whistle when he converted two points.
Chilima thanked NBM for sponsoring the tournament. He said: “The launch has been good, but the sponsorship is what we should be celebrating today. A few months back we had a similar event at Civo Stadium. We made an appeal to organisations to come forward and support minority sports of which basketball is one of them. It’s good to see one of the big banks responding with a very generous amount.”
Chilima also pleaded with the basketball fraternity to safeguard the sponsorship.
“It’s exciting news for the basketball fraternity. The sponsors have done their part by making the resources available. It’s now up to the basketball fraternity to do their part. Discipline will be one thing but the administration as well should be good so that we can impress the sponsors and attract more to come.”
NBM head of marketing and corporate affairs Wilkins Mijiga said the launch had shown that the tournament will be superb.
“It has been very exciting. We watched a very exciting game. Somebody said a journey of a 100 miles starts with a step. Today, that journey has started with a leap and not a step. Basketball is back in a big way. With this support, basketball will never be the same again,” he said.
According to Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) president Hamlet Kamtengeni, the national competition will start at zonal level next weekend. Each of the four zones is expected to identify two representatives for the national encounters. n