The spirit of friendship and camaraderie were on display in abundance as the Zambia Invitational side were crowned champions of the inaugural 2017 Best Brew League five-a-side regional finals in South Africa’s North West Province on Sunday.
The Zambian team, with former Chipolopolo stalwart Rotson Kilambe in their ranks, defeated Botswana in a penalty shoot-out on the final after the teams had played to a 2-2 draw.
It was a richly deserved victory for the team, after they had defeated a South Africa Invitational side 11-0 in the quarterfinals, and then edged the second side from South Africa 2-1 in the semifinals.
It is a magical moment for the team, led by captain and goalkeeper Charles Chansa, and provided them with memories that will last a lifetime.
“It is an incredible experience for us and something we will never forget!” a beaming Chansa said. “We have worked so hard to get to this point and to lift the trophy is a dream come true for us.
“But most importantly, we worked for this trophy together, we have played as a team and won as a team. That is very special for all of us and whatever happens in the remainder of our lives, we can always look back on winning this trophy for Zambia.”
Aside from the skipper, the Zambian side was made up of Fred Chimponda, Rodgers Kamwandi, Clive Hachilensa, Matthews Chikwete and Paul Chileshe, and also got a helping hand from Best Brew League Legend Kilambe.
The final brought to an end two days of thrilling, fast-paced action that was as much a celebration of friendship as it was football.
“Congratulations to all the teams that took part, it was wonderful first ever Best Brew League and a great experience for everybody who took part. This tournament is about playing with your friends, but also making new friends as well, and the spirit amongst the teams was fantastic,” says Thomas Lawrence, Castle Lager Brand Manager for Africa.
“To be able to bring players from across the region together, to enjoy football and each other’s company with a cold Castle Lager, has been very rewarding for all of us involved in the Best Brew League.”
The six Legends who were involved in the campaign provided more thrills for the teams from their various countries, lacing up their boots to show their skills. They were Kilambe (Zambia), Brian Baloyi (South Africa), Dipsy Selolwane (Botswana), Tinashe Nengomasha (Zimbabwe), Sisa Dlamini (Swaziland) and Lehlohonolo Seema (Lesotho).
The Best Brew League was run in conjunction with the 2017 COSAFA Castle Cup in South Africa.