Football was the biggest winner during the inaugural 2017 Malawi Sports Awards at Bingu International Convention Centre in Lilongwe on Friday night.
The country’s most popular sporting code scooped seven out of 17 awards during the event. But netball athletes missed out on the nominations after last year’s poor performance.
Celebrated female referee Bernardeta Kwimbira-Nzika shone like a beacon having won two awards of Sports Personality of the Year and Best Referee of the Year.
Kwimbira-Nzika said the recognition would motivate her to continue performing well.
“It feels great to be part of such a historic event. I am really humbled and will continue working hard so that I continue carrying the Malawi flag high,” Kwimbira-Nzika said.
The Malawi Under-17 National Football Team was voted Best Team of the Year with Under-20 striker Peter Banda scooping the Sportsman’s Award.
China-based Tabitha Chawinga was voted the best Sportswoman of the Year whereas Griffin Saenda Junior won the Coach of the Year accolade, beating seasoned Be Forward Wanderers mentor Yasin Osman.
The award for Best Executed Programmes went to the FMB Under-20 League for unearthing some of the best football talent in the country.
Cecilia Mhango of athletics won the Junior Female Sportsperson award with Sebo Yanga (chess) getting the Junior Male Sportsperson award.
James Chiutsi of Malawi Paralympic Committee (MPC) was voted Sports Administrator of the Year.
The Sportsman with Disability award went to Samuel Mbukwa whereas Prisca Kachule was voted the best Sportswoman with Disability.
MPC won the Association of the Year accolade whereas late Tochi Gill won the Non-Citizen award.
Mulanje District was voted the Sports District of the Year whereas Zodiak Broadcasting Station scooped the best Sports Media house of the Year award.
Labour, Youth, Sports and Manpower Development Minister, Francis Kasaila, who was the guest of honour at the event, hailed Malawi National Council of Sports (MNCS) for introducing the awards which aim at motivating outstanding athletes, coaches and officials from various sporting disciplines across the country.
“This is a great idea and I believe it will motivate our athletes to work extra harder in the games they compete in. Our sportsmen and women need to be supported so that they win in all competitions. I therefore call upon the corporate world to give them a hand,” Kasaila said.
Chairperson of the organising committee, James Chuma, who is also MNCS Board Chairperson, said the awards were introduced to encourage sports personalities to aim high in their endeavours