The battle for points and with it, honours, begins in earnest this coming Saturday at the country’s netball spiritual home, Blantyre Youth Centre, when the Rainbow Paints Blantyre and Districts Netball League—the country’s strongest regional league—throws off.
In a statement released during the week, the league’s General Secretary, Annie Hanjahanja, confirmed the re-launch of the league which the paint manufacturers sponsor.
Three games have been lined-up on the opening day with The Polytechnic students taking time off their taxing academic assignments to unwind on the court when lining up against Shizaella Queens.
This will be a clash of beauty and brains worth watching for neutrals in Blantyre, where there are no more distractions of football, following the closure of all stadiums.
Polytechnic, who are led by exemplary skipper, Israellah Chirwa, and her deputy, Eddah Mkombezi, rejoined the league last season after a long absence.
Polytechnic’s return to the league was characterised by more defeats than wins; hence an improved performance is expected on their academic transcript. Captain Chirwa and Mkombezi are you listening?
In the second game, Thunder Queens, led by tactician Christina Mkwanda- Nsinji, will be seeking to steal the thunder when they host Serenity Stars.
Certainly, Stars will not come onto the court in any serene mood as a win is not optional for a team of their stature and ambition.
In the final game of the day, defending champions Kukoma Diamonds date unpredictable Prison Sisters while hoping for a positive start.
Diamonds, banking on Griffin Saenda Senior’s availability on the technical panel, know that they have to win such a game as the championship might, at the end of the season, be decided by goal difference.
Diamonds have precious and valuable players such as Caroline Mtukule Ngwira and Towera Vinkhumbo Nyirenda at the rear-guard, Jessie Mazengera Sanudi driving the attack which also comprises star-shooter Alinafe Kamwala.
Standing 180 centimetres, Kamwala, 24, can be unplayable on her day owing to her physique, agility and an eye for the target.
Prison should be wary of Diamonds centre which has experienced legs of Sarudzai Gondwe and Bridget Kumwenda.
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