PRIME Minister Kassim Majaliwa has demanded for the formalisation of the newly introduced baseball and softball, as the country focuses on sending a team for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
He also directed the Minister for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Harrison Mwakyembe, to ensure that the Tanzania Baseball and Softball Association (TABSA) is fully registered and that the sport be incorporated in inter-primary schools, UMITASHUMTA and inter-secondary schools, UMISETA Games effective next year.
Premier Majaliwa issued the directives when officially launching the first ever baseball and softball ground at Azania Secondary School in Dar es Salaam yesterday. He also launched the official start of the 6th edition of the national baseball and softball tournament taking place at the same venue.
Majaliwa lauded the government of Japan, through its Embassy in the country, which committed itself to part with 80, 234 US dollars (about 180m/-) to finance the project.
The construction begun mid last year and the venue will be available for all baseball and softball players in the country, not only Azania team members.
Majaliwa said the support from the Japan government was huge and worth being recognised by every sports lover in the country. He insisted that the sport is growing fast and expressed the government’s commitment to throw its weight and make sure that the current growth was sustained.
“We really thank the Japan Embassy and especially, Ambassador Shinichi Goto, for the huge gesture, which once again signifies our cooperation in developing various sectors including sports… we really appreciate and value your support.
“This is a special day because we are launching this historic ground that will help to a great extent in the development of the sport in the country,” Majaliwa said.
He said baseball and softball have been rapidly spreading in the country in which, at least 11 regions have already adopted the sport and several teams have been formed and are actively competing in the sport.
Premier Majliwa also thanked the Osaka Rotary Club of Japan for dishing out 12, 856 US dollars (about 30m/-) to bankroll the 6th edition of the national baseball and softball tournament.
He also paid tribute to TABSA Chairman, Ahmed Makata, who introduced the game in the country, after returning home from Japan, where he went for further studies.
Majaliwa said that he is informed that next year, Africa baseball tournament will be held in South Africa and TABSA officials have requested the government to support and ensure that Tanzania sends a team for the tournament. He directed Minister Mwakyembe to see the best ways to make sure that the team travel to South Africa and compete in the tournament.
He also encouraged Tanzanian youth to actively participate in the sport, saying they should take leaf from their peers who have already started playing the game.
On his side, Minister Mwakyembe said the ministry called on Azania Secondary School to use the venue effectively and maintain to the highest level. The minister also cautioned TABSA officials to take care of the venue. He also assured TABSA of hand-in-glove cooperation in development of the sports.
The Japan Ambassador said the commitment to construct the venue was based on the existing cooperation between the two countries as well as a special motivation for Tanzania to mould a winning outfit ahead of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.
The event was also attended by representatives from Osaka rotary club from japan, representatives from the Association for Friends of African Baseball (AFAB), a non-profit organisation certified by the Japanese government.
TABSA Chairman Makata expressed his sincere appreciation for the sound cooperation his body has been availed by the Japanese Embassy in the country.