By Arkangel Tembo
BLANTYRE, November 12, Mana:
Kukoma Diamonds have remained true to their Rainbow Paints Blantyre District Netball League ambition to defend the championship after beating Tigresses in a highly contested encounter.
Diamonds, steered by the ever-industrious and goal shooter, Jessica Sanudi, saw off Tigresses 42-38 at Blantyre Youth Centre on Sunday to remain on course to retaining the title that they won last year.
It was close for Tigresses, who kicked-off the game on a brighter note as they led the first quarter with 9-3 baskets, but not close enough.
Suffering their second-straight defeat to the old foe, the Tigresses struggled to keep up with the fast Diamonds pace, however, they did display moments of brilliance that could only be credited to their coach Peace Kaluwa who had blended a young and experienced squad.
Although pleased by her side’s improved performance, Kaluwa insisted there were still things to be worked on and said the clash had given her clarity on areas to address.
“We never like to lose and I hate losing myself, but we’ve got to be realistic as a team. I think we were exposed in some areas and we weren’t competitive, but it’s great to be exposed by such a great team,” Kaluwa said after the game.
“Defensively there were moments where we scrapped and we fought really hard but I thought that we also didn’t have purpose in some respect.
“Overall I’m actually quite happy. I think that we have improved since our last game. I thought it was a great fight,” In a strong start, shooters Sindi Simutowe, Ellen Chibokho showed continued improvement while centre, Beatrice Mpinganjira led her midcourt with confident circle feeds.
Kukoma Diamonds had Towera Vinkhumbo in sublime form as she caused early problems for Tigresses shooters. Another notable player, who was outstanding for the entire game was Tigresses goalkeeper, Lauren Ngwira.
Using her height advantage, Ngwira tamed Diamonds goal attacker and shooter well only that her side’s problem was misplacing of passes.
Diamonds are now leading the league with 34 points from 17 games while Tigresses is coming on second position with 28 points from 18 games.
Thunder Queens who had no game this weekend is on third position with 28 points as well but they have an inferior basket difference.
Gerald Tasaukadala anchors the table with two points from 18 games.