The much hyped K12 million (about $30 000) GOtv Netball Challenge starts today Saturday at College of Medicine Sports Complex in Blantyre with the cream of netball from Lilongwe and Blantyre clashing.
Blue Eagles Sisters, MTL Queens, Civonets, Escom Sisters and Bingu Tigresses take to the court as MultiChoice Malawi seeks to take netball to another in the country and beyond.
The MultiChoice landmark sponsorship has excited participating teams with Escom Sisters, who are without sponsorship, expressing hope of winning the inaugural GOtv Cup.
“We have prepared well for this tournament. The girls are in shape and we hope to start with victory. The main motivation for my girls is the prize money itself. Winning the cup can help ease our financial woes,” said Escom coach Griffin Saenda in a telephone interview from Blantyre on Thursday.
Netball Association of Malawi (NAM) president Rosy Chinunda said the GOtv Challenge has brought about untold excitement within the netball fraternity.
‘Everyone is excited; players, teams and even we at NAM are infected with pride and enthusiasm as the competition draws closer. We are really grateful to MultiChoice Malawi for adding this new dimension in netball,” said Chinunda.
She has promised to run the competition to satisfaction so as to impress the sponsors and in the process entice them to extend the tournament to the Northern Region.
Central Region Netball Committee (CRNC) general secretary Fernando Ligola said the GOtv Challenge will give teams in the region the much needed exposure.
“This affords our teams [Blue Eagles and Civonets] opportunity to have a go at big money. This is good news for netball. The only other tournament we compete in as a region is the Presidential Cup,” said Ligola.
The GOtv Challenge starting coincides with a friendly match involving Malawi and Zimbabwe, but MultiChoice Malawi sales and marketing manager Chimwemwe Nyirenda said his is hopeful that the football match will not affect patronage at Sports Complex.
“We are confident of good patronage as netball has its own supporters who will want to enjoy the action. The other thing is that our games will start in the morning while the football match is in the afternoon,” said Nyirenda.