Sunbird Livingstonia needed a superior goal difference to win the FAM Beach Soccer Cup national honours at the Jadore Africana Beach Stadium in Mangochi on Saturday.
In what will go down in records as one of the most competitive beach soccer tournament, the five-team contest played on round robin basis, saw four teams tie on six points. The champions, Karonga, Sunbird Nkopola and Vinthenge of Nkhotakota all won twice and lost 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 defending champions Nkopola by a goal . They had a goal difference of four after scoring 17 goals and letting in 13 while Nkopola had a goal difference of three for their 13 efforts against 10.
Karonga United finished third with a goal difference of 2 after scoring 13 goals and conceding 11.
The tournament’s surprise package Vinthenge from Nkhotakota, who needed just a point in the tournament’s last game to win the championship with seven points but went on to lose 6-2 to Karonga, finished fourth with a minus four goal difference.
Nyerere from Nkhatabya finished last with four points.
The winners pocketed K 1.5 million while the runners up got K750,000 and Karonga got K500,000.00
Livgingtonia coach Eston Skwiza thanked his boys for sticking to their plan of utilizing most of their chances.
“After the first round of matches it was clear that this was going to be a 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,” he said.
Beach Soccer Association president Kondwani Gondwe thanked FAM for the continued sponsorship and requested 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 ,” he said.
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 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 a lot of local competitions. FAM will ensure that we introduce more tournaments,” said Ntelera.
The five teams qualified for the daylong event after winning the Presidential Cup in their respective Zones.
Sunbird NKopola 6 Sunbird Livingstonia 3
Nyerere 3 Karonga 3
Sunbrid Livingstonia 7 Vinthenga 4
Nyerere 2 Sunbird Nkopola 1
Sunbrid Livingstonia 1 Karonga 2
Nyerere 1 Vinthenga 3
Sunbird Livingstonia 6 Nyerere 2
Sunbird NBkopola 1 Vinthenga 3
Karonga 6 Vinthenga 2