The three-day national finals of the inaugural Vale Logistics Volleyball Tournament concluded on Sunday at College of Medicine (CoM) Sports Complex in Blantyre with Moyale Barracks and Blue Eagles winning the men and ladies’ categories respectively.
Mzuzu-based Moyale beat Lilongwe-based Mipuniro Spikers 3-2 in the men’s finals while Eagles saw off fellow Lilongwe-based Kamuzu Barracks (KB) by the same margin to take the ladies’ crown.
Moyale also dominated individual awards as their player Johnstone Msowoya grabbed both the Most Valuable Player (MVP) and the Best Spiker accolades while his team-mate Elnick Liwewe was the Best Blocker. Ibrahim Iron of Mipuniro and Blessings Manda of Thunders were named Best Receiver and Best Setter in that order.
In the ladies’ section, Eagles produced Jessie Nyasulu and Orama Massa as the tournament’s MVP and Best Receiver whereas KB had Jane Nyirenda, Matilda Zako and Prisca Makhusu as Best Spiker, Best Setter and Best Blocker respectively.
“It has been a wonderful tournament for us and we are happy to have emerged champions,” Eagles captain Orama Massa said.
However, the most interesting thing about the tournament is that Southern Region teams have now gone 10 years without winning a national title.
The last Southern Region team to win the tournament was VTC Thunders in 2008. In the latest episode, Thunders are the region’s best performers after Lilongwe Spikers 3-0 in a third-placed match.
Thunders coach James Mangani attributed Southern Region’s teams continued struggles to poor preparations and lack of stable sponsorship considering that their Central and Northern Region counterparts are active all year round through Sempha Investments and Jappie Mhango-sponsored leagues.
According to Vale Logistics senior external affairs analyst Joyce Chilongo, they sponsored the tournament to create awareness on the importance of promoting railway safety, especially in Balaka, Mwanza, Neno, Machinga and Chikwawa, where they are constructing a railway line.
Volleyball Association of Malawi (VAM) vice-president James Kaunda thanked Vale for the sponsorship and pleaded with other companies to follow suit.