Arusha netball players stuck in Kampala as league beckons in Tanga

22Jun 2020
Marc Nkwame
The Guardian
Arusha netball players stuck in Kampala as league beckons in Tanga

JUST as Tanzania is preparing for the First Division Netball League, Arusha is worried, because the region's netball team is short of its four dependable players currently stuck in Kampala, Uganda.

JKT netball team's players take part in training session at the National Indoor Stadium in Dar es Salaam recently. PHOTO; CORRESPONDENT JUMANNE JUMA

So far the Arusha city authorities have tried to write to the Uganda's High Commission to Tanzania's office asking assistance, but the latter advised them to contact the Foreign Affairs Ministry in Kampala instead.

Arusha City Council’s Sports Officer, Benson Maneno, admitted that they even wrote to the Ugandan ministry, asking them to allow the four sports personalities to travel back to Tanzania.

“Well the process to that effect has started and is ongoing. It wasn’t easy because Uganda is still in COVID-19 lockdown,” Maneno said.

Arusha' netball team, known as 'Arusha Queens', comprising nine players, has thus set camp at the Institute of Accountancy Arusha, in Njiro but yearns for the additional three fielders.

The team’s coach has also taken vacation in the neighbouring country of Uganda during the recent COVID-19 driven hiatus.

Still in Kampala are three players, Stella Nyadoi, Sarah Nakiyunga and Dorothy Vega Slando, that together with their coach, Nourdene Hassan Kato, are yet to return to Arusha to join fellow netballers for the preparatory drills.

Speaking from Kampala, coach Kato said the three players stuck in Uganda were not idle, continuing with their practising sessions there.

He insisted it, therefore, does not matter when they will be allowed to travel to Arusha.

“We are always ready and well equipped for the Tanga league,” the coach assured.

But the assurance from Kampala doesn’t sound strong enough to cool anxiety here, because the city officials here are still really worried that July 5, a day set for the league's start, is just around the corner.

The three players, plus the coach may, therefore, not make it in time for the Tanga event.

The First Division Netball League, to be played in Tanga, will run from July 5-11, 2020.

The showpiece was initially supposed to involve a total of 17 netball teams from various regions in Tanzania.

However when contacted by phone, Tanzania Netball Association (Chaneta) Secretary General, Judith Ilunda, said she had just received reports that one of the teams has decided to opted out of the league.

“The Railways team of Morogoro is the one which has pulled out of the league, otherwise all preparations and precautions have been observed for the rest of the teams,” she said.

According to Ilunda, the top three winners from the First Division Netball League are expected to take part in the forthcoming East African Netball Championships.