Only two Tanzania professional golfers will be permitted to appear in this year’s edition of Kenya Open championship that tees off at the 7236 yards par 71 Muthaiga Golf Club in Northern Nairobi on March 29.
So far five Tanzania professionals have shown interest to feature in the 72-hole lucrative European Challenge Tour event for the continent.
The Tanzania wishful line-up includes oldest professional Salim Mwanyenza, Rajab Idd, Sebastian Mtupili and Fadhili Nkya, according to reliable sources.
While Idd and Mtupili will be making their debut appearance in the show, already Nkya has attempted twice. Mwanyenza has been playing in the show for several times up to 2004 when he was denied the opportunity.
Mwanyeza remains the only professional in Tanzania to have made a number of cuts in the highly elusive Tour event while Mbwana Juma made his cut for the first and last time in 1998.
Kenya Professional Golfers Association’s chairman Elisha Kasuku declared the two entries for Tanzania and insisted on beating the deadline.
The Tanzania Professional Golfers Association is trying both ends against the middle to have the slots increased so as to have at least sizeable number of entries in the event.
The only time when the Kenya Open organizers increased the number of entries from two to four was in 2006 when Olais Mollel, Adam Mohamed, Stanley Sanga and John Davies tried their luck without success.
The Tanzania Professional Golfers Association is still working out the criteria to fill the two entries for the event that also attracts a huge number of European entries.
Kenya Open, which was won by Michiel Botha in the previous edition, is one of the top six richest events in the European Challenge Tour in terms of prize fund package for the season.
The event is the only one to be staged in the continent on annual basis since it attained European Professional Golfers Association’s sanctioning in 1991.
The event was skipped in 1994 and 2003 for lack of sponsorship before bouncing back into life to date.
The host country, which has a huge number of entries for every event, is also haunted by the jinx of missing cuts let alone to win the tourney despite of massive home ground advantage.
Only Jacob Okello managed to provide a remarkable challenge during the 1998 edition to lose to Argentine Ricardo Gonzalez at the third hole of the sudden death play off mush to the disappointment of home fans.