Thunders, Gemz to lead SRVL charge at Raiply

Gemz, the champions

It took a thunderous 57 minutes to determine the winner of the men's Southern Region Volleyball League championship sponsored by Jappie Mhango, MP, played at the College of Medicine Sports Complex in Blantyre.

The finalists Thunders and Cobbe Artillery no strangers to each other, tussled in a highly anticipated final that see-sawed this way and that.

The Zomba-based soldiers had their moments of brilliance when they would take the lead but Thunders used experience, more fire power to win each set. 

Men's champions Thunders. Photos by Nick Liwewe

The Blantyre-based side won the first set 25-17; the second 25-18. 

But in the third set, Cobbe pulled out more artillery and gave Thunders a good run. But a flurry of unforced errors, including poor services cost them the game.

At game point 24-21, the COM Sports Complex erupted into a chorus of “One more! One more!” as the crowd urged Thunders to strike down the soldiers. And one more it was.

After the win, Blessing Manda, captain for Thunders said: “Cobbe is a good team. They give us a challenge; with COVID it’s been hard to train but we tried our best to play as a team and win.”

In the women’s category, Gemz trounced their arch-nemesis Blazers 3-0 to win the championship.

Reacting to the win, Gemz captain Twambi Chalemba said: “It was mostly about team spirit and team work which was there and the hits were also there.”

Eight  women’s and 12 men’s teams competed for the championship as well as for three slots at this year’s Raiply National Volleyball championship to be played in Mzuzu this weekend.

SRVL chairperson Kelvin Zulu said dividing the region into six zones has brought to the fore new teams and new volleyball talent. He was optimistic that the six teams from the region would do well on the national stage.

Sponsor Jappie Mhango, MP, who is also Volleyball Association of Malawi president was not available but his representative Ronald Mpaso said he could have been impressed by their talent on display and the level of organisation.

With the tournament done and dusted it will be Gemz, Blazers  and Mangochi who finished third after beating Zomba Police that will represent the Southern Region at the Raiply event. 

On the men’s side Thunders, Cobbe Artillery and Bangula travel to Mzuzu for the national showpiece.