It is official. With three games to wrap up the season, Chitipa United were crowned SIMSO Premier League Champions on Saturday after beating fourth placed Ekwendeni Hammers 1 nil at "Thengere Stadium" within Mzuzu University campus.
Lupakisho Kazingo scored the only goal of the match for Chitipa United in the 26th minute. Clement Mwalwanda received a high ball on the right and won an aerial battle with Hammers' left back before crossing the ball inside and goalkeeper Junior Ngwira was again beaten in the air as he missed Kazingo's easy header that saw the ball bouncing into the yawning net.
The win meant Chitipa United had amassed 85 points from 35 games and mathematically, second placed Bolero United could only hit 84 points if they won the rest of their games. No any other team in the league could reach 85 points after finishing all their assignments.
Speaking to Nyasa Times after the match, Chitipa United coach Robert Mziza said he was so happy to bounce back into the country's top flight league.
"It was a tough game because most of our regular players were not featured today due to injuries. Hammers came hard on us but I am glad we have made it. I must admit it hasn't been easy but I must congratulate my boys for the hard working spirit throughout the season. It is my plea that everybody including the Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) should support us in any way as we rejoin the super league.
"Last time we got into the top league, we did not do well but this time we have to do our home work very well. I have good players, I have the skeleton of the team but definitely we will have to beef up the squad," explained the jovial Mziza.
Ekwendeni Hammers coach, Obvious Banda, congratulated Chitipa United for emerging champions.
"Chitipa United have been consistent in their approach throughout the season. They deserve the championship. For us we are still on position four and we will do everything possible to finish in the top three and in the paying ranks," said Banda.
Meanwhile, General Secretary for the Northern Region Football Association (NRFA) Masiya Nyasulu has congratulated Chitipa United on their success and wished the team well in the country's top flight league.
"NRFA would like to congratulate Chitipa United for being crowned champions of the 2018 edition of the SIMSO Premier League. They will represent NRFA in the elite league come 2019. They have tasted only a single defeat out of the 35 games that they have played so far.
"May ask the rest of the teams in the league to complete their assignments so that we can identify the second, third and fourth placed teams respectively," explained Nyasulu.
Bolero United were second on the log table as on Saturday with 70 points from 34 games. Fish Eagles were appearing third with 66 points from 35 games while Ekwendeni Hammers were fourth with 63 points from 35 games. On position five was Kabwafu United with 59 points having completed all their 38 games.
In the central region, Mlatho Mponera FC were already crowned champions of the Chipiku Premier League. The soccer fraternity will now be waiting for a champion from the southern region.