Zambia: Bembas Whack Ngonis in Golf Tourney

BEMBAS proved their superiority over the Ngonis again on New Year's day when they thrashed their traditional opponents to win the annual Tribal Cousins golf championship for the record 13th time at Ndola Golf Club.

Led by their top seed, Matipa Shichitamba, Bembas blazed to the winners' podium after carding a runaway 561, leaving their sworn traditional cousins trailing on 498 points.

With the rules of the game agreed by the two 'warring' factions, the Ngonis initially appeared to be on course to grab their third title when they took an early lead but only to finish poorly on the back nine.

Both teams were told to field 20 players with five reserves and the scores from the 20 golfers from each group counted for the championship.

The Bembas top scorers were K. Chibuye on 38 points, Kwame Musonda brought 35 points, Esther Yambayamba delivered 34 and Nkrumah Musonda carded 32 points.

Former Zambia Golf Union (ZGU) president, Emmanuel Katebe, who is Bembas' seed two, shot 27 points with Shichitamba also hitting the same number of points while ZGU treasurer, Joel Chitamba and veteran, Peter Chepeshi shooting 21 and 19 points, respectively.

The Ngonis' highest scorer was lady golfer, Lonah Mwenda on 33 points, veteran Godfrey Mbawala chipping in with 30 points while Ndola Golf Club captain, Sangulukani Tembo took 29 points to the table.

Former Ngonis' chairperson, Welani Chilengwe canvassed 27 points alongside, Benard Daka while ZGU president, Charles Mwanza, the current Ngonis' leader, managed 26 points.

Professional golfer, Beza Daka led a group of no shows for the Ngonis who included Panji Phiri, Sandy Munthali and A. Tembo.

For the Bembas, former ZGU president, Percy Ng'andwe, Serge Kabaso and Mwila Mwango failed to pitch up while Gabriel Chibuye was disqualified.

In the individual stableford, K. Chibuye was overall winner on 38 points, one better than L. Chibwe while Yogesh Desai finished third on 36 points.

Kelly Munsaka, a former diplomat, beat Africa Golf Confederation vice-president, Joe Malanji on a count back to the fourth position after tying on 35 points.

Bembas' chairperson, Kangwa Mukwikile bragged that the team's plan of displaying pictures of late chief Chitimutulu paid off as their former rulers' spirits helped to crash the Ngonis.

Mukwikile said despite the Ngonis doing their homework by digging out from the archives, some veteran golfers like Dominic Ngoma from Kabwe, the Bembas were too smart for them.

"The Ngonis did their homework and went into their archives to retrieve veterans like Dominic Ngoma but we still sorted them out. The displaying of the pictures of our late chiefs also paid dividends," he said and promised to defend the title next year.

Ngoni chairperson Charles Mwanza attributed the 13th loss to the four no shows whom he said their scores could have helped in reclaiming the championship.

Mwanza said playing the Bembas was proving a difficult task as the Ngonis were made to face people from three provinces.

He said it was strange that even people from Serenje in Central Province were masquerading as Bembas during the tournament.

Mwanza said for the next tournament, qualification to play would be upon displaying of national registration cards as a way of curbing cheating.

While thanking the sponsors for coming to the aid of the event, Mwanza said the organising committee would next time do some fundraising events to lessen the financial burden.

He said they also hope to make the championship bigger by inviting two traditional rulers - Chitimukulu and Mpezeni - to grace the event in Ndola.

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