by Philip Richards
Glasgow Commonwealth Games
Team Tanzania sent 36 athletes to the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, in the fields of athletics, table tennis, boxing, judo, cycling and swimming. Disappointingly, the team came home with no medals. With expectations of success set high prior to the Games and after failure at the 2012 Olympics, how will decision makers now respond in developing the natural talent that clearly exists in the country?
Martin Ignatius, popularly known as Mart Nooij, has been appointed as the new head coach of Tanzania’s national team, Taifa Stars. The Dutchman takes over on a 2 year contract from sacked Danish coach Kim Poulsen. It is the second national team job for 59 year old Nooij, who spent four years as coach of Mozambique until 2011, helping them qualify for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations.
Unfortunately, the team has crashed out of the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations, failing to advance to the qualifying stage proper, after ironically losing to Nooij’s previous charge Mozambique. (BBC Sport website)
Hopes for a new sport
Tanzania will host the Rollball African tournament at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam in August. Rollball? If you didn’t know, the relatively new sport, in which Tanzania participated in the inaugural world cup in 2011, is played between two teams of 12 players on skates in a court of a similar size and shape to a basketball court. Tanzania Rollball Association President Noel Kibunsi described the sport as a combination of roller-skating, basketball, handball and athletics. (In2EastAfrica.net)
Anyone for chess?
To something more familiar, at the time of writing Tanzania’s national team was leaving for the International Chess Olympiads in Norway, which will be attended by over 200 countries. The National Sports Council is supporting the development and awareness of the game, which appears only to have been recently revived on a more formal basis, in that it can improve thinking especially on a strategic level. This follows a visit by the legendary player Gary Kasparov to Tanzania last January to promote the game as part of his Kasparov Chess Foundation initiative. (In2EastAfrica.net)