SPORT

by Philip Richards

Rugby and golf aim for Rio 2016
Despite returning home empty-handed from the 2012 London Olympics, Tanzania is reported to be preparing for two new sports at the 2016 Games (Citizen). The Rio games will introduce golf for the first time and re-introduce rugby union (last seen as an Olympic sport in 1924 in Paris). Golf is a fast growing sport in Tanzania, with 8 clubs affiliated to the Tanzania Golf Union across the country and the 2012 Tanzania Open taking place at the Arusha Gymkhana Club in early November. Rugby union already has affiliate status with the International Rugby Board, but it is understood that the “Twigas” will first need to achieve full membership to participate in the 2016 Olympics.

The continuing ups and downs of football
The national side Taifa Stars hosted Kenya in a friendly encounter in Mwanza in November. The game ended in a 1-0 victory for the hosts and will give coach Kim Poulsen some optimism for the next round of 2014 World Cup qualifying games in the new year. Unfortunately, the same month saw reports in the press that the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) had their bank account frozen and over Shs 157m deducted by the tax authorities for non-payment of taxes on the salaries of foreign coaches (Daily News).

Taifa Queens fight to maintain netball status
In September 2012, the national Tanzanian netball team (Taifa Queens) were ranked 19th in the world netball rankings, making them 4th in Africa (source: IFNA). Their status however has recently been jeopardised by a no-show at a South African tournament earlier in the year and the team is reported in the press to be struggling to fund the trip to the Six Nations tournament in Singapore (Guardian). The recently appointed coach, Mary Protas, hails from Malawi the country which is ranked number 1 for netball in Africa.

STOP PRESS – the Taifa Queens were able to attend and subsequently won the Six Nation tournament.

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