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Kukoma Diamonds reclaim Rainbow Paints championship

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By Isaac Salima:

Kukoma Diamonds have lifted the 2022 Rainbow Paints Blantyre and Districts Netball League championship after snatching it from their rivals First Choice Tigresses at Blantyre Youth Centre.

Diamonds only needed to avoid a loss of 134 goals but put up an impressive performance to win the match 34-28 and finish the season with a perfect record.

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The champions won all their 20 games to conclude the season with 40 points, four ahead of second-placed Tigresses.

However, Diamonds endured a difficult last quarter as their top shooters Jessie Mazengera-Sanudi and Grace Chazungulira missed the target on numerous occasions, allowing Tigresses shooters to reduce the scores.

In the first quarter, Diamonds led 10-6 before extending the lead to 20- 12 at half time.

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At the end of the third quarter, Diamonds were leading 30-21.

Diamonds Coach Noel Mussa said it was a nervous end as Tigresses wanted to gate-crash.

“It was a tough match and we really struggled in the last quarter. Nevertheless, we contained the pressure to win the league championship with maximum points,” Mussa said.

Tigresses Coach Peace Chawinga-Kaluwa said her charges could have done better if injured experienced players such as Tendai Masamba and Sindi Simtowe-Msowoya were available.

“However, the performance of my players was encouraging. They are young with an average of 19 years and I am sure they will get better. All the same, congratulations to Diamonds,” she said.

In individual awards, Diamonds duo Mazengera- Sanudi and Shabello Bengo were named top-goal scorer and best defender.

Mubas Sisters centre Eliza Kamache won the accolade for the position while Martha Dambo of Tigresses was named best defender.

The champions pocketed K2 million, with the runners-up receiving half the amount. Third-placed Imosys got K600,000.

Meanwhile, Diamonds Chairperson Lumbani Mtonyo said they had to reclaim the title to cement their relationship with their sponsors, Capital Oil Refining Industries.

“We are excited that we have won the league. Actually, we won this year’s league the day we lost last year. We have a perfect record and also featured young talent to blend in to the team,” she said.

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