FAITHFULNESS, patience and hard work described as factors behind the selection of Tanzanian Zulfikar Karim, as among technical delegates at this year’s International Basketball Federation (FIBA) Basketball World Cup Competition.
Karim, who is the former national team member, was picked by FIBA among eight technical delegates (commissars), who will oversee World Cup to be held in India from August 31st to September 15th 2019.
Speaking to the ‘Sunday News’ from Mwanza yesterday, overjoyed Karim said that it was a big honour for him and country to earn a call as among officials to be in charge of matches at the World Cup stage. Karim, 57, will be first Tanzanian and only East African official at the world stage and this is a big honour for him and country at large.
“Honestly, I’m pleased for this achievement and can rightly say, it is a reward for being patience, faithful and hard working,” he said.
FIBA Secretary General Andeas Zagkilis confirmed that eight commissars, including two from Africa have been picked for the World Cup task.
Apart from Tanzanian Karim another African official is Charles Saunders from South Africa. Other officials include Fatima Da Silva (Brazil), Fernando Garzon (Spain), Mike Homsy (Canada), Norman Isaac (India), Andeas Papadopoulos (Greece) and Jiang An Zhou of China. Recently, FIBA changed the World Cup format, which will now involve 32 teams of which, five are from Africa.
Competing teams are Angola, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Ivory Coast, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic and France.
Others are German, Greece, Iran, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Korea, Lithuania, Montenegro, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Senegal, Serbia, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey, USA and Venezuela. Karim said: “This is not a kind of opportunity that comes easily…
FIBA has been monitoring the work of each one for several years. I have been working in the game at low level before earning this call.” Karim has been officiating at several African competitions and junior level World competitions since joining international referees’ rank in 1988.
A former Mwanza Eager’s club player Karim grew up in sport.
He started practising basketball in primary school and excelled to the college level before earning selection in the national team between 1986 and 1987.
From 2007 he was elevated to the level of match commissar and referees’ trainer. He officiated at the Under-17 and U-19 World Cup. He advises the youth in Tanzania to take sports seriously because it comes with lots of benefits.
“First of all, I advise the youth to involve themselves in sports to keep them healthy, secondly sports create employment,” he stressed.