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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Netballers backup imperative

12th February 2012

It is an ill-kept secret that netball is a sport which is popular amongst girls in the country.

In fact, it could be argued that what football is to boys, netball is to girls in the domestic sporting arena.

As it so happens, local netball was recently boosted by the news that Tanzania will host the African netball championship this year, which will begin on May 8 in Dar es Salaam.

Indeed, this is a positive development for the sport and it gives the Tanzania Netball Association (Chaneta) ample time to prepare for the event.

Last year was a successful one for our netball as Taifa Queens, restored a little bit of our badly dented national sporting pride by winning a silver medal at the All Africa Games, which unfortunately proved to be the only medal we won at the prestigious games.

Since then though, there has been inadequate attention paid to netball by sports stakeholders, but the hope is that in light of the recent good news, netball will now assume greater prominence in the national spotlight.

Considering that the African netball championship is only months away, it is incumbent upon us to meticulously prepare for the event in a bid to give ourselves a better chance of winning the title.

In the wider context though, a few important concerns about local netball remain.

One such concern is the fact that there are not enough funds being ploughed into the sport for its development compared to major sports on the local scene like football, for example.

Another concern is the lingering fear amongst some quarters that we have failed to capitalize on the popularity of netball amongst girls to turn ourselves into a veritable powerhouse on the African continent.

Indeed, it could be tentatively argued that we are a sleeping giant on the continent as the sport has been played in our country for donkey-years.

So, as we begin the countdown to the African netball championship, we should strive to ensure that we can steer local netball towards a successful and bright future.

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