MASVINGO - Manyame Falcons and Queens were crowned champions in their respective categories at the annual Zimbabwe Handball Open Tournament held at Masvingo Polytechnic last weekend which featured 12 girls and 15 boys teams from across the country.
Manyame Falcons successfully defended their title in closely contested games against 15 other teams from across the country for the opening of the handball season which is set to begin in April and go on until December.
Manyame Queens wacked former Mirror attachee Nyasha Musambasi captained Midlands State University 11-2 to land the coveted trophy, playing uniforms and prize money courtesy of guest of honour Chirumanzi Constituency MP Innocent Pedzisai Munanzvi.
"We are very excited with the win and we played to the coach's instruction hence the big win," said Brenda Mugandani the Mayame Queens captain.
Defending National Association of Secondary Heads (NASH) champions Chivi based Danhamombe High defied the odds against the older sisters and came a respectable third in the girls' category after thrashing GZU 11-5 for the third place.
Manyame Queens played like true champions although they conceded first, but after that they went on a relentless attack rendering the MSU defence hapless with their counter attacks that kept the veteran goalkeeper Nyasha Musambasi busy in the whole afternoon, parrying shots from ferocious Manyame Falcons captain Brenda Magundana.
On the other hand the boys' team won the tournament without kicking a ball in the finals which they were meant to play Mutare Poly because of the downpour witnessed just before kick off.
They were crowned champions based on the +45 goal difference while Mutare Poly had to grudgingly settle for the second position with +23 and Black Rhinos were the second runners up with +33.
On their way to the finals Manyame Queens topped group C with 9 points in the group that comprised Great Zimbabwe University on second, Masvingo Poly the hosts on third and Regina Mundi on fourth position. Manyame Falcons beat Danhamombe 9-7 in the semi-finals.
MSU topped group B with 9 points that comprised Mutendi High on second, Victoria High on third as well as Africa University on fourth position and in the semi-finals got the better of GZU by 7-5 goals only to collapse like a deck of cards in the finals against the much more athletic Manyame Queens.
There were individual prizes for the best performers with the most valuable player accolade going to Divine Saunyama of Mutare Poly in the boys category and Brenda Mugandani of Manyame Queens in the girls category.
The top goal scorer for the boys was Divine Saunyama with 22 goals and Loice Nemutenzi of MSU with 25 goals.
The best goalkeepers for both categories were from Manyame Falcons and Queens; Terry Musvamhiri who conceded 29 goals and for the girls category it was Tanyaradzwa Kahari who conceded 14 goals.
Mutare Poly were the most disciplined team in the boys category while Masvingo Christian received the same award in the girls category.
There was no doubt that the best coach was Alois Nyamhanga the Manyame Falcon and Queens gaffer.
The occasion was graced by among other dignitaries, the president of the Handball Federation of Zimbabwe Stewart Sanhewe, secretary general of Masvingo Handball Association Manzini Mahuni, other handball officials Josiah Sithole,Erikana Mangwiro and Edson Chirowodza .
Mahuni in a short interview told The Mirror that handball is mainly a combination of soccer, netball and basketball and is played by six infield players and a goalie and these can be substituted at any time over the 30mins played on either half.
"There are circle players who are usually large and mainly disorganise the defence but can also shoot as well and wings who normally score from odd angles usually from the sides and what we call big shooters who are usually tall and agile and can shoot from the top of defenders," added Mahuni.
She added that the competitions were also used as part of the national team selection process.sport news