Archive for Sport

SPORT

by Philip Richards

Football

Tanzania national side “Kilimanjaro Queens”, pictured in Uganda in
2016 (Fufa)


Reflecting the rapid rise of women’s football globally, Tanzania is no exception. Whilst the men of Taifa Stars languish in the lower reaches of the FIFA rankings, the women of Kilimanjaro Queens are making some headlines. The team that represents mainland women’s football has made the news recently after some high-profile tournament wins including the CECAFA Women Challenge cup, a regional five-nation tournament that was played on a round-robin format in Kigali, Rwanda. The win earned the plaudits of President John Magufuli and the team now move onto the inaugural East African Community Games which starts mid-August in Bujumbura, Burundi with the Queens opening their campaign with a fixture against Kenya. (Daily News).

On the men’s front, Dar based Simba FC won the mainland Premier League in May despite losing 0-1 to Kagera Sugar in the final game. The Citizen reported that the trophy was handed over by President Magufuli who was visiting the National Stadium to attend a sporting event for the first time since he became President.

Simba football club with trophy (simbamakini.co.tz

At national level, Taifa Stars have a new head coach in former Nigeria winger Emmanuel Amuneke as the new head coach of the national team. His first competitive game in charge of the senior Taifa Stars will be their 2019 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier in Uganda in September. The latest FIFA rankings places them at 140th in the world, with Tunisia the highest ranked African team (24th) and France owning top spot. Amuneke, 47, replaces local coach Salum Mayanga who had been in charge of Tanzania since last year. (BBC Sport website).

Comments

SPORT

by Philip Richards

XXI Commonwealth Games, Gold Coast, Australia
TA119 reported that Team Tanzania were sending 16 hopeful athletes to the 21st Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, with the country being represented in athletics, boxing, swimming and table tennis. Unfortunately, the performance was a disappointment as no medals were brought back home, continuing a trend as this is the 3rd consecutive Commonwealth Games without a medal, the last one being won in Melbourne in 2006 (Daily News, 16/4/18).

Particularly disappointing was the performance of the men’s and women’s marathon runners, with only two of them managing to com­plete the race. Although much attention was given in the global media to the Scottish runner Callum Hawkins who collapsed 2km out from the tape in the men’s race, what may have gone largely unnoticed was that two Tanzanian athletes were also overcome by the hot race conditions; Saidi Juma Makula collapsed a few metres from the finish and Stephano Huche Gwando was placed in a wheelchair after completing the race (BBC Sport website 15/4/18). TA wishes them both a speedy recovery.

At the time of going to press, there was little official comment or post­mortem into the underperformance or what lessons can be learned from participation.

Comments

SPORT

by Philip Richards

Focus on Commonwealth Games 2018
In April this year, some of Tanzania’s Commonwealth Games “greats”, including Filbert Bayi, carried the Queens Baton on its journey through the streets of Dar. In doing so, they sought to inspire young Tanzanians preparing for the 21st Commonwealth games to be held in the Gold Coast, Australia in April 2018, and to set the bar for hopeful athletes to emulate past success.

Filbert Bayi has held the Commonwealth Games 1500m record for 43 years, since the Christchurch 1974 Games. He led from the start and commanded victory over the home crowd favourite, John Walker. In doing so, Bayi set a new world record and changed the tactics of middle-distance running.

Alphonse Simbu


Athletics Tanzania announced that their athletes will set up camp in November in Lushoto, Tanga. Bayi himself is quoted as saying that whilst they do not lack talent and potential, unless they prepare well, Tanzania’s athletes will return home empty handed. He singled out Emmanuel Giniki (5000 metres) and Alphonse Simbu (Marathon, Bronze at this year’s IAAF World Championships in London) as hopefuls for medals. However, there is a suggestion that Simbu may skip Gold Coast 2018 in order to prepare for the London Marathon where he will hope to improve on the creditable 5th place in the 2017 race; if this happens, it will clearly hurt the nation’s hopes.

The other sports where Tanzania will look to do well are in boxing, swimming and table tennis. This has been helped by the inter-governmental “sports diplomacy” initiative whereby the country has secured support from leading nations in each sports area in order to raise performance. In table tennis, the country sent 5 players out to a 3-month training camp in Beijing in November underwritten by the Chinese government. Under a similar scheme, it is hoped that athletes will train in Ethiopia and boxers in Cuba as part of their preparation. Tanzania is being represented by 4 swimmers including Sonia Tumiotto who won 14 gold medals in this year’s Africa Swimming Federation (Cana) Zone 3 Championships, and who studies and trains at the St Felix School in Southwold, Suffolk (see TA 117).

Unfortunately, it would appear unlikely that Tanzania will be represented in the Commonwealth Games Paralympics as they failed to attend any qualifying events.

Juma Mohammed Hamisi, who lost his leg in a bus accident and now plays for Tanzania’s junior wheelchair tennis national team, was featured in the UK Guardian. The team qualified for the wheelchair Tennis World Cup in Italy, but were sadly unable to attend for financial reasons.

Comments

SPORT

by Philip Richards

Athletics
The London Marathon is a much loved and anticipated event on the UK athletics calendar which attracts top athletes from around the world, but the upcoming 2017 event in April could see Tanzania’s top runner missing. At the time of going to press, Alphonce Simbu has days left to obtain a UK visa which, as reported by The Citizen, has been left too late because of training commitments. An urgent application is apparently being made via South Africa. Simbu won the Mumbai Marathon earlier this year, so let us hope that the wheels of inter-country cooperation work in his favour, and that we see him hitting London’s roads this year.
[STOP PRESS – Alphonce was able to compete and finished in 5th place behind three Kenyans and an Ethiopian runner]

Swimming

Hilal Hemed Hilal


Hilal Hemed Hilal, Tanzania’s top male swimmer, has been recognised for his success and development by being awarded a scholarship by FINA (swimming’s world governing body) to Thailand for a year. Hilal, who performed well at the Rio Olympics in 2016 by winning one of the heats of the 50m freestyle, will seek an additional year at the Thai camp if he posts improvements during his initial stay (The Citizen reports). As swimming infrastructure in Tanzania needs investment to comply with global standards, many promising swimmers are forced to seek scholarships overseas at educational colleges (such as Saint Felix School in Southwold, UK where several Tanzanian swimmers study) but this is the first time that a Tanzanian has been awarded a scholarship by FINA.

Football
Taifa Stars, the national team, recently posted two wins in friendly matches against Botswana (2-0) and Burundi (2-1) which must be encouraging for the new coach Salum Mayanga who replaced Charles Boniface Mkwasa at the helm earlier this year after failing to qualify for any major tournaments. These wins may have helped move the team slightly up the FIFA rankings to 135th, but there is some way to go before the position of 65th in 1995 is equalled or surpassed. The focus is now on preparing for the 2018 African Nations Championship (CHAN) in Kenya, and the main 2019 African Nations Cup (AFCON) in 2019 in Cameroon. The first game for the CHAN tournament is against Rwanda in July. For the 2019 AFCON tournament, the team has been drawn in qualifying Group L with Uganda, Cape Verde and Lesotho.

Comments

SPORT

by Philip Richards

Rio Olympics 2016

Tanzania’s delegation to the 2016 Rio Olympic Games in August will comprise of seven athletes, reports Daily News (July 2016). The country will be represented by 4 track-and-field athletes who will compete in the marathon, two swimmers and a Judoka. TOC Secretary General Filbert Bayi named the marathon athletes as Fabiano Joseph (men), Said Makula (men), Alphonce Felix Simbu (men) and Sara Ramadhan (women). The other three athletes who have booked their tickets to Rio are swimmers Hilal Hilal Hemed and Magdalena Moshi, both to compete in the 50m freestyle category and Andrew Mlugu in judo.

Although seven is a small number, it is an improvement on the numbers sent to London 2012. However, it continues to be disappointing that so relatively few athletes are competing given the obvious potential, especially when neighbouring Kenya is sending around 100 athletes. Furthermore, boxing is not represented as it was in 2012 due to financial difficulties experienced in sending boxers to qualifying events.
Tanzania has failed to win Olympic medal since the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow, where the country won 2 silvers – Bayi himself in the steeplechase as well as long-distance runner Suleiman Nyambui.

Despite the challenges, let us wish Team Tanzania well!

STOP PRESS: The stand-out performance among Tanzania’s Olympic team was undoubtedly Alphonce Felix Simbu in the men’s marathon. His time of two hours and eleven minutes earned him fifth place, two and a half minutes behind the race winner, Eliud Kichoge of Kenya.

Alphonce Felix Simbu (extreme left) in the Rio marathon

Alphonce Felix Simbu (extreme left) in the Rio marathon

Swimming
Even if Tanzanian swimmers do not return home from Rio, the sport is poised for brighter future following efforts by some schools and stake­holders to groom talent and find quality coaches. A good example is the ongoing swimming summer camp run by Dar es Salaam Swimming Club, and conducted by experts from Dubai-based Hamilton Aquatics. (Daily News)

Football
Whilst the eyes of the world have inevitably been on Euro 2016 in France, congratulations must go to Young Africans who sealed a 26th domestic title with two matches to go, after beating Mbeya City 2-0 at the Sokoine Memorial Stadium in Mbeya in July. (The Citizen)

Comments

SPORT

by Philip Richards

At the risk of appearing to bring gloomy news in this issue on the sporting front, I would request readers to contribute any positive sporting stories to me for future publication (see back of issue for my email address). There must be some out there but I’m finding it difficult to dig them up! – Phil

Athletics
Tanzania athletes continue to disappoint on the global stage. At the World Athletics Championship in Beijing, the country’s contingent of marathon runners finished 12th, 27th and 42nd with one not finishing the course. The post-mortem in the Tanzanian media again points the finger of blame at inadequate preparation for global competition, rather than the quality of the athletes per se. Headlines like “Tanzania – Stop This Mess in Athletics Once and For All, Please” (Daily News, 28/8/15) sums up the frustration in the country, especially when neighbours such as Kenya and Uganda appear to be thriving or at least on the upward curve of improvement.

Football

Taifa stars in action against Algeria

Taifa stars in action against Algeria


Taifa Stars, the national mens’ team, are already out of the FIFA World Cup 2018, after a painful 9-2 aggregate defeat over 2 legs to the “Desert Foxes” of Algeria in the qualifying round. Slightly better news in terms of qualification towards the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations; the team currently hold third spot in Group G behind group leaders Eqypt, but interim coach Charles Boniface Mkwasa will be encouraged by his team’s performance against Nigeria who held the Super Eagles to a 0-0 draw in Dar in September. The next game is away against Chad in March 2016.

Comments

SPORT

by Philip Richards

Athletics
Tanzania’s elite athletes are eagerly preparing for 2 significant events this year and hoping to improve the country’s medal record in recent times. First, the World Athletics Championships will take place in Beijing in August. Following that, the All Africa Games will be held in Congo-Brazzaville in September (which happens to be the 50th anniver­sary of the Games being held in the country who first hosted it in 1965).

Ismail Juma (5,000m), Alphonce Felix (10,000m), Ezekiel Ngimba and Fabiano Joseph (both marathon) have already run the necessary quali­fying times in recent events and are expected to travel to both events, and other athletes in some shorter distances are also hoping to make qualification times (The Guardian, 14/7/15).

To help them achieve their goal, the sport has received an injection of Tsh 10m from TANAPA (Tanzania National Parks Authority).

Football
Gloomy news continues on the Tanzanian national men’s football scene. After presiding over a string of defeats in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifying round, most recently a 0-3 defeat at home to Uganda, Mart Nooij, the Dutch coach of Taifa Stars, has been sacked after 14 months in charge (BBC Sport website 22/6/15). It was reported that the team and coach were booed throughout the Uganda match and Nooij had to be shielded from angry fans by tight security (CCTV-Africa.com).

Yanga Sports assistant coach Charles Boniface Mkwasa now acts as interim coach whilst a permanent successor is found. The team has been drawn against Malawi in the opening 2-leg qualifying round in October for the 2018 FIFA World Cup; there remains a long journey ahead if the team are to have any chance of making the finals in Russia – if it hap­pens there of course….

Unfortunately the women’s national team have not been faring much better as their under 20’s team went down 4-0 to Zambia in a qualifying game for the 2016 World Cup in Papua New Guinea.

Comments

SPORT

by Philip Richards

Cross Country
Five Tanzanian athletes took part in the world cross-country championships held in Beijing in late March. Hopes were raised that the lean spell since the last time the country won a medal – 1991 when Andrew Sambu triumphed at the Antwerp Championship in Belgium – could end. Whilst there were no medals, the team finished a respectable sixth position in a competition which attracted 410 athletes from 51 nations with Ismail Juma one of the better performing athletes. The post mortem will again focus on the need for more adequate preparation time. (The Guardian 30/3/15)

Football
The drive to find and develop world class players of the future has been strengthened, thanks to a ground-breaking deal worth TSh 16bn between the National Social Security Fund (NSSF) and Spain’s football giants Real Madrid to construct an ultra-modern sports complex in Kigamboni, on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam. (The Citizen, 27/1/15)

NSSF director general, Ramadhan Dau revealed that the construction of the NSSF Sports Centre would get underway in the next four weeks. The NSSF-Real Madrid Sports Academy project is the second in the country after the Kidongo Chekundu academy being constructed by Symbion Power and English Premier League side, Sunderland FC.

Not so good news for the national side Taifa Stars who have fallen to 107th in the latest FIFA rankings (Daily News 10/4/15). The next goal is to qualify for the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations which is a tough group with Nigeria and Egypt (45th and 51st respectively in the current rankings) included, along with Chad (151st).

Cricket
The senior national cricket team’s delivered a lacklustre performance in this year’s ICC Africa Twenty20 Division 1 Qualifiers in South Africa, which brought together the top six associate members in the continent: Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Namibia, Tanzania and Uganda.

Namibia and Kenya, who finished in the top two spots of the tournament, have secured qualification for the World Twenty20 Qualifiers in Ireland and Scotland later this year, where the top six teams will qualify for the 2016 ICC World Twenty20 finals in India. Tanzania finished last after suffering defeat in all matches to now face relegation to the ICC Africa Twenty20 Division 2 Qualifiers. An anonymous player is quoted as citing lack of competitive friendlies, financial backing, and throwing talented but inexperienced players into high profile tournaments too quickly, as some areas that needed to be addressed by management. (Guardian, 3/4/15)

Comments

SPORT

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?

Football
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)

Comments

SPORT

by Philip Richards

Cricket
Tanzania recently took part in the World League Division 5 tournament in Malaysia with the prospect of promotion. Although they only came third, they did beat Kenya. They will now focus on the ICC-Africa Division 1 tournament in June. (The Citizen)

The Tanzanian women’s cricket team (BBC)

The Tanzanian women’s cricket team (BBC)

Women’s cricket is being lauded for developing holistic skills beyond the game. Tanzania Cricket Association’s programme for young women around the age of 13-14 supports them at a challenging time in their lives, as many are under pressure to find employment at the expense of studies and sport. By contributing to school fees, the TCA hopes to provide a brighter future for the young women themselves whilst strengthening women’s cricket generally. (BBC)

Athletics
More than 40 athletes are expected to attend international training camps ahead of this summer’s Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. Tanzania is also hoping to send some Paralympic athletes to Glasgow, but there are difficulties in getting the disabled athletes properly classified locally and hence participation is in doubt (www.ippmedia.com).

Disabled tennis
We are often astounded by the talent and determination of disabled sportspeople, and Tanzania has its own stories of inspiration. The charity Friends of Children of Tanzania, which helps people with disabilities to excel and express themselves through sport, has a partnership with the Tanzania Tennis Association to promote wheelchair tennis. Men’s and women’s teams recently competed in the All Africa tournament in Kenya, a qualifier for the 2014 Wheelchair Tennis World Cup. Although they did not win their respective tournaments, the women’s team beat the tournament’s eventual winner Kenya.

Soccer
The national side Taifa Stars have parted ways with their coach Kim Poulsen after he failed to deliver the progress expected during his two years in charge. No successor has yet been named.
In January Eton College launched a pilot project to identify and develop future Tanzanian soccer stars from pupils in rural schools in Arusha and Moshi. The sports master of Eton, Glen Pierce, led a group of three Etonians who are on their gap year before going to university. The project was sponsored by Safari Hub in collaboration with the charity ACE Africa and the Tanzanian High Commission (The Citizen, Daily News).

Comments