Diamonds chase Tigresses’ record
All-conquering Kukoma Diamonds ended the 2016/2017 season with a perfect record of 42 straight wins in their quest to equal or even beat Tigresses’ unbeaten run of 71 games.
Tigresses, under the tutelage of Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa, won 71 straight games in the 2014/2015 season to dominate local netball by sweeping all regional and national trophies.
Tigresses’ cause was aided by having an extended edition of the GOtv Netball Champions League which saw teams competing on a Fast5 Format in three preliminary rounds.
In bid to get even with Tigresses’ record, Diamonds won the last edition of the GOtv Netball Champions League after excelling in 12 games during the competition in 2015.
Diamonds managed to extend the run during the 2015 and 2016 editions of the Presidential Cup which were all played within 2016.
The 2015 edition was played early last year whereas the 2016 edition was staged in December last year.
In each of the two editions, they registered six wins on their way to victory-winning a total of 12 games.
Diamonds also went on to win six matches to lift the Airtel Money National Netball Trophy.
The dominant Diamonds recorded 18 wins to dethrone Tigresses in the Rainbow Paints Southern Region Netball League contest.
However, Diamonds benefitted from a boardroom decision to dodge defeat following incidents with Mulanje-based Chitakale Sisters. Chitakale reported for the first round match whereas Diamonds failed to pitch up on the understanding that the match had been postponed.
Later, Chitakale boycotted the match after league officials rescheduled the game.
The league eventually awarded points to Diamonds after Chitakale stood their ground in not honouring the rescheduled fixture.
Diamonds Physical Fitness Trainer, Griffin Saenda Jnr, said it was possible to reach the 100 games mark with a perfect record.
“I believe we can go as far as 100 games without a loss. With our current form, I am sure we have the endurance to go all the way. We managed to win 12 games in two editions of the Presidential Cup. We won 12 games in the GOtv Champions League and six in the Airtel Money Trophy, as well as 18 in the Rainbow Paints league. This adds up to 42. So if we continue like this, we can make it to 100 games,” he said.
Saenda, who is slowly following the footsteps of his father in netball circles, said Diamonds have quality players to sustain and extend their perfect record.
“The good thing is that the players are united and work hard to be in the starting team. However, I should also acknowledge the fact that the sponsorship we get from Capital Oil Refining Industries also helps the team to prepare well for events,” he said.
Meanwhile, Tigresses Coach, Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa, has vowed that her charges will bounce back strongly next season to reclaim all trophies.
One team that can easily win the most improved team of the year award is Thunder Queens.
The team managed to qualify for the finals of the last Presidential Cup in Lilongwe against the odds.
This was at the expense of well-established sides like Blue Eagles, Civonets and Tigresses.
Thunder Queens Coach, Christina Mkwanda-Nsinji, said the side would also be gunning for silverware next season.
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