By Mphatso John Sam
A superior goal difference made Sunbird Livingstonia win the Fam Beach Soccer Cup national honors tournament on a daylong event held at the Jadore Africans Beach Stadium in Mangochi on Saturday.
In a statement from the Football Association of Malawi (Fam), The Director of Competitions and Communications, Gomezgani Zakazaka said this will go down in records as one of the most competitive beach soccer tournaments ever happened.
The letter further indicates that the five-team contest played on round robin basis, saw four teams tie on six points as Sunbird Livingstonia, Sunbird Nkopola, Karonga, Vinthenga of Nkhotakota all won twice and lost the same number of games.
“Only goal difference would separate men from boys and the Salima based side emerged top with a slight advantage after outscoring the defending champions, Nkopola by a goal. Livingstonia had a goal difference of four after scoring 17 goals and conceding 13.
“Nkopola had a goal difference of three for scoring 13 goals and letting in 10 goals into their net,” reads the statement in part.
Livingstonia coach, Eston Skwiza thanked his boys for sticking to their plan of utilizing most of the chances.
He said: “After this round of matches, it was clear that this would be tough contest and goals were going to play a big role in determining the winner.
“We told our boys to score as many goals as possible. We ended up scoring 13 in two games and those goals won us the title.”
Beach Soccer Association president, Kondwani Gondwe thanked Fam for the continued sponsorship requesting the mother body to consider raising the funding package.
“Today we witnessed one of the most exciting tournaments. It was tight and that shows that teams are hungry for success as such we need more competitions and higher packages to motivate them,” Gondwe explained.
FAM Executive Committee Member, Rashid Ntelera said the association will continue supporting the game which has shown potential of making it big at international level.
“We have won two silver medals at three international tournaments in which we have participated so far. That is an indication that we have what it takes to compete with other countries. We can only get better if we play at local competitions and we will ensure introducing more tournaments,” Ntelera said.
During the daylong event, it ended Sunbird Nkopola 6 Sunbird Livingstonia 3, Nyerere 3 Karonga 3, Sunbird Livingstonia 7 Vinthenga 4, Nyerere 2 Sunbird Nkopola 1, Sunbird Livingstonia 1 Karonga 2, Nyerere 1 Vinthenga 3, Sunbird Livingstonia 6 Nyerere 2, Sunbird Nkopola 1 Vinthenga 3 and Karonga 6 Vinthenga 2.
Sunbird Livingstonia emerged champions of the Fam Beach Soccer Cup while Sunbird Nkopola were second and Karonga finished third with a goal difference of two after scoring 13 goals and conceding 11 while Nyerere from Nkhata Bay finished last with four points.
Zakazaka added that the tournaments surprise package was that Vinthenga from Nkhotakota, who needed just a point in the tournament’s last game to win the championship with seven points, went on to lose 6-2 to Karonga, finished fourth with a minus four goal difference
According to Fam, the five teams qualified for the daylong event after winning the Presidential Cup in their respective zones. The champions pocketed K1.5 million while the runners-up got K750,000 and Karonga walked away K500,000 richer.