Mwanza Regional Basketball Association (MRBA) official, Kizito Bahati, said the region’s basketball team, which headed to Arusha yesterday, has on board 12 players and three officials.
“The outfit, though, has been forced to leave in two separate batches because of the decision by the Tanzania Basketball Federation (TBF) to push the tournament back and review its procedures. Six players have left today (Sunday) and are accompanied by one coach,” he said. “Five players are set to leave for Arusha tomorrow (today) and will be joined by the other player, Solomon Mahatane, who is residing in Dar es Salaam.
” “TBF had earlier written us saying the tournament was expected to start on December 1, with organisers, Arusha city council footing cost for accommodation and food for all of the participating outfits. The teams were only required to meet cost for travelling to and from Arusha.
” “The decision by TBF to then push the tournament back and told us that we should meet cost for travelling and food with only a day before the start of the event, led to failure by some of our players to get permission from their employers to play in the tournament.
” MRBA officials, Bahati disclosed, were, as well, under pressure to seek cash for meeting cost for food for the team following the decision by TBF to re-schedule the event. “Much as the team has encountered several challenges, we expect it will replicate impressive showing it enjoyed in the previous edition of the tournament held in Dodoma, in which the team finished runners-up,” he said.
Players making Mwanza regional basketball squad include Ahmed Mbega, John Sapa Pastory, Freddy Luyenze, Mponjoli Basalile, Mathias Ezekiel, Shomari Almasi, Chacha Tubert, Ramadhani Nuru, Soti Peter, Peter Magere, Vincent Shinda and skipper, Amon Semberya. They are under coach Paschal Nkuba.
Bahati said some of the team’s officials have been forced to remain in Mwanza to seek funds for meeting the team’s needs and will join the squad later. “We expect to meet Mwanza Regional Commissioner, John Mongela, to help us secure funds from different sports stakeholders for the team. We need 5m/- to ensure the team takes part in the tournament smoothly,” he said.
The MRBA official expressed sincere regards to Mwanza sports stakeholders including MOIL Company’s director, Altaf Hiran Mansoor, Blue Chip Incorporation’s director, Walter Kabuzi and Mwanza basketball veterans family members, Angeline Mabula, who is also Deputy Minister for Land, Housing and Human Settlement Development, and Musa Mziya, who is former TBF president, for supporting the team’s participation in the Taifa Cup competition.
Meanwhile, TBF is set to hold a general meeting in Arusha to discuss a variety of issues pertaining to the development of the sport at the domestic level. The two-day meeting, which began yesterday and comes to a close today, takes place shortly before the start of the Taifa Cup.
TBF official, Michael Mwita, said regional basketball associations must pay annual membership fee so the bodies can be confirmed for the general meeting. Mwita also said basketball coaches, Bahati Mgunda from Dar es Salaam-based Junior NBA Tanzania, Karabani Karabani and two members from Zanzibar will be the TBF general meeting’s special members.
Mwita said TBF has allowed the four officials to attend the meeting so they can offer consultation on the promotion of the sport. The TBF official, who will chair the general meeting, said he will, as well, be responsible for selection of members of the appeals committee of the Taifa Cup championship.
The tournament was expected to start on Thursday last week but was then re-scheduled following the failure by Arusha city council, which has been expected to offer financial support for the event, to confirm its readiness to back the tournament. He also said all teams that will take part in the tournament will not pay participation fee and the outfits will, instead, use the cash for food.