TANZANIA is losing track in basketball development, a once the fastest-growing sport in the East African country. Now hardly being recognizable leagues or talents.
Basketball popularity reached its crowning only in early 2000, at one point, it was considered the fastest-growing sport in the country and on track to becoming one of the biggest, although things turned to be to the contrary thereafter.
Although, President of Tanzania Basketball Federation, Phares Magesa has different opinion that basketball in the country is gaining momentum currently apart from various challenges facing, not only basketball, but all sports across the globe.
In an nterview with SAUTI KUBWA, Magesa said a new crop of young people are taking matters into their own hands and establishing teams, in schools and colleges aim at taking the sport to the next level in the country, and may be outside.
He said he has been travelling to different regions visiting schools and colleges in this month – March and last to encourage youth to engage in the sport.
“I have been to upcountry, recently in Kilimanjaro Region where I met the region bosses and discussed ways of enhancing basketball to youth, and nurture the skills of young and talented players,” Magesa added.
President Magesa said the biggest element that his federation focus on is to make every kid to learn basketball as much as they can and use the sport to mold their brains in education or push them to become basketball professionals.
One of the biggest fans of the game and once a player, Amin Kalembo said basketball in the country is not vibrant now compared to some years back, although there a lot of kids that have talent and skill, who needs some push from the federation.
He also insisted that basketball can be a means to take kids out of the street and introduce them to do something constructive in sports, instead of the federation to relying on school and college youngsters.
“There should be some plans to make sure that basketball continues to grow at a primary school level and elevate it from there. We need to give our kids more options. There is a lot of unearthed talent in Tanzania.
Despite challenges, basketball is quite popular – especially in cities. Hasheem Thabeet, who played for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the US National Basketball Association, is the first Tanzanian-born player to join the NBA. Now is in Taiwan.