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Mo626 College basketball ‘elite eight’ returns Saturday

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The Mo626 College basketball ‘elite eight’ games return to the courts in Blantyre tomorrow to identify ‘elite four’ who will battle it out in the semifinals and eventual finals next month.

Eight teams in both men’s and women’s categories are expected to battle for honours at Kamuzu University of Health Sciences (Kuhes) basketball courts as well as Blantyre Youth Centre and the Malawi University of Business and Applied Sciences (Mubas) courts in Blantyre.

The ‘elite eight’ in the men’s category include Mubas Wildcats, Must Gorillas, ABC Lions, Bunda Buffalos, Unima Hawks, Kuhes Lumbricals, Magu Wolves and Mzuni Panthers.

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In the women’s category, the teams include Kuhes Ganglions, Must Asterix, Magu She- Wolves, ABC Lady Lions, Unilia Dark Roses, Mubas Lady Cats, Unima Hawks and Bunda Olivettes.

NBM plc Marketing and Corporate Affairs Manager Akossa Hiwa said they were excited that the games are now coming to an end to conclude season three of the tournament, having been delayed due to restrictions related to the Covid pandemic.

“The college basketball season gives students something to work towards and look forward to. Right now, teams are training every day and keeping fit. This fits perfectly with our intentions for Mo626 College basketball – which is to build well rounded individuals within tertiary institutions.

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“You will recall that NBM plc offers scholarships and also awards best performing students. The latter was established over 30 years ago. College basketball helps ensure that students are both mentally and physically active,” Hiwa said.

NBM plc entered into a partnership with the Basketball Association of Malawi (Basmal) to sponsor the college basketball tournament for three years in 2017 and successfully staged the two seasons in 2018 and 2019 before being delayed by Covid.

Basmal Vice President Banthari Banda said they were ready for the ‘elite eight’ games saying there will be a total of 20 exciting games, spread across four basketball courts in Blantyre.

“We are prepared for the games. We will have a total of 20 games, 10 each for the men’s and women’s categories and we have spread them across four courts at Kuhes (both in-door and out-door) and Mubas and Blantyre Youth Centre and we will have our officiating panel coming from across the country,” he said.

Banda said they would use the double-knock-out format to give a chance to all the teams.

“So, even if a team loses one game, it will have a chance of qualifying for the semifinals by winning the remaining games. We want to thank NBM plc for this sponsorship which is unearthing talent,” he said.

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