Thunders roar to SRVL title defence

Thunders

Thunders, Green Eagles and Bangula men’s volleyball teams have finished first, second and third respectively in the Southern Region Volleyball League (SRVL) championship played in Blantyre over the weekend. The three teams will represent the Southern Region region at Raiply National championship scheduled for next month.

To finish tops, Thunders faced tough opposition from tournament dark horses Green Eagles from Zomba but managed to win in straight sets (3-0) and retain the SRVL title, thanks to some excellent spiking and blocking from their players among.

Consequently, Thunders dominated the individual accolades, bagging three out of five. The team’s players captain Blessings Manda, Wonder Kacheche and Kondwani Kapyongo were named the best setter, best spiker and Most Valuable Player, respectively.

Manda was happy with the win but said teams in the region are starved of game time compared to those in the other regions.

“We didn’t know Green Eagles but they gave us a good game.

Blessings
Manda (C) receives medals on behalf of Thunders. Photos by Chisomo Ngulube

“We are ready for the national championship but the problem is that we don’t have league games, although we keep on training and having friendly games. It’s a challenge as we only play national games without playing any league games. We hope the committee will do something,” he said.

Green Eagles captain Lisbon Chunga whose side stunned last year’s runners-up Shatters on their way to the semi-finals said: “As Green Eagles, we’re becoming stronger and stronger, than before. We lost because it wasn’t our time to win but we played well.

Final
Final match: Thunders players attempt to block the ball during the game against Eagles

“We wanted to show people that Green Eagles is ready to fight and to beat prominent teams in Mzuzu. Our preparations for the national championship are starting on Monday,” said Chunga.

The third-place play-off pitted Bangula against Mangochi Spikers and the former retained third position to qualify for the national championship for the second year running. They also produced the best blocker and up and coming player of the tournament. The best receiver accolade went to Eagles and VAM vice GS Dan Mwakasoko.

Mwakasoko celebrates after being named best receiver
Mwakasoko celebrates after being named best receiver

SRVL chairperson Kelvin Zulu sponsored the championship. He acknowledged that teams in the region have been starved of action which he blamed on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“As we know, that we’re coming in from a time, we didn’t have enough time for preparation but the teams knew that at some point they would play at zone and later and regional level where we only bring the best three teams from each zone (six zones),” Zulu said.

From Nsanje
From Nsanje with love: Bangula pose with their bronze medals

Twelve teams had been scheduled to participate in the tournament but four of them were a no show.