Having already bagged four cups this season, Mufulira Leopards on Saturday still had enough energy to add another title as they won the inaugural Zambia Chamber of Mines (ZCM) 15s championship after beating Mufulira Central Training Centre (MCTC).
As expected, Leopards showed why they are regarded as Copperbelt’s finest by outclassing seven other teams at Leopard’s Cage in Mufulira.
The Leopards posted three tries with just one of them converted to win a one-day event that attracted eight teams sponsored by mining companies on the Copperbelt.
There was a try each from James Thole, Langani Siziba and Niven Kunda with Fine Chinkumbe on hand to make one conversion.
This title adds to the Nchanga 10s, Ndola and Mufulira 7 tournaments and Zambia Air Force (ZAF) Independence Challenge for the border town side.
The fifth title of the season left Leopards coach Willis Magasa wishing to see the competition grow from strength to strength.
“I think this is a kind gesture from the Chamber of Mines and good for the development of rugby, this is superb. This will revive rugby on the Copperbelt. Today I was surprised by the competition from the teams that did not do well in the league,” he said.
Magasa said the attendance at the inaugural tournament was impressive and that it was the best for the future tournament to attract such competition.
MCTC player-cum-coach, Dean Zulu, who is also part of Leopards team, urged the Zambia Chamber of Mines to continue with tournament by stating that it would help in growing the sport in the region.
On their way to the finals, Leopards thumped ‘Men-At-Work’ Diggers 19 – 0 in the Mopani derby semi-finals while MCTC team that had students from different academies edged Konkola 5 – 3 at the same stage.
In the third place play-off, Diggers beat Konkola 7-0.
In the women category, the Leopardess of Mufulira took the title when they humiliated a combined team of Nchanga and Konkola players.
And ZCM President Goodwell Mateyo said the inspiration to put up the tournament came from the Zambia Consolidated Copper Mines (ZCCM) days of having mine sports festivals.
“This our humble effort as Chamber of Mines to try and revive sports festivals as it used to be during the ZCCM time. We have intentions of growing it into inter-sports disciplines festival. We are grateful for the support from the mining companies,” he said.
Meanwhile Zambia Rugby Union (ZRU) General Secretary Chileshe Bweupe said the union was humbled that they would continue to call upon the Chamber’s office.
Bweupe said what happened to rugby should equally be extended to other minor sports in the region.
Story by Mulwanda Lupiya, Zambia Daily Mail. Ronald Chawe, Times of Zambia.
Pictures courtesy of Mufulira Leopards Rugby Club.