Samia reshapes, conquers cricket world

TANZANIA: TO set history is one thing but to maintain the status can be even harder. But for President Samia Suluhu Hassan seems it is not the case, she has already explored sports beyond expectation.

As the country marks its third year today since President Samia entered the helm the light is everywhere from a sports perspective.

But for cricket, it marks something even special; it may have not happened in other sports disciplines though.

In her first year at the helm, the President has already motivated sports legends among the rest is a cricket reunion that includes those living abroad and living in the country.

Her leadership has already done a wonderful job of bringing them together not only as competitive to national teams and individual performance but also open new important doors to reunite sports personalities locally and abroad.

Now President marks 3rd year in office, on the other side the cricket legends reunion that a new chapter marked in 2022 after history went in the making, as over 37 legends cricketers who live abroad reunited those living in the country take the Patel Brotherhood Patel Samaj (PBPS) Cricket Festival by storm in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar.

Among others, the veterans were part of the cricket workshop organised for young cricketers and also played along with local legends and men and women wings of the Tanzania Cricket Association (TCA).

It was great work done by oversee legend group leader Kanu Rathod and Tanzania Veterans Cricketers’ Reunion Group senior administrator Vaishnav.

To mark the initiative as a success, the legends set to stage the second edition of the Cricket Legends of Tanzania Festival 2024.

The festival that brings together cricket legends living abroad and those in the country is set to start from the 25th to the 27th of October this year as stated by Dinesh Vaishnav event coordinator for team Tanzania.

Vaishnav noted that Reunion Group Administrators and members of management led by Group Lead an England-based Kanu Rathod who was in Dar es Salaam last year as part of the preparation process are pleased to announce the staging of a second festival.

He said that preparation is on top gear for the event that would spread words of love, happiness and smiles all over to take place.

All these can only be achieved in a country that has peace and solid eldership that make even those living far away feel welcomed.

This has also opened an important platform for the Tanzania Cricket Association (TCA) leadership to work close to Legend and get important ideas to develop the game.

No wonder cricket has continued to shine in international assignments as seen recently for the national women’s team at the Nigeria tournament.

“Though in the African Cup, luck deserted us with a wash out of a sure win match, the ladies did us proud in the Nigerian cup, being the champions,” said TCA Chairman Balakrishnan Sreekumar while organised get together on March 15, 2024 to appreciate the players after arrived from Nigeria.

Rathod also congratulated the Tanzania Women’s team, and captain Neema honouring the Nigeria Cup by TCA and Chairman Sreekumar, along with the TCA administration team and Vaishnav witnessed in a short ceremony in Tanzania.

“In our discussions with Vaishnav this evening a new era in the leadership in TCA by Sreekumar in a short time has seen lots of progress and improvements, and now the future for our national team will be progressing much faster.

“I would like to see the Tanzania cricket team to be the champion of African nations while some of us are still alive. Mungu Ibaraki (God bless) team Tanzania,” quoted Rathod.

Vaishnav said it was a moment of pride to represent the Group of Cricket Legends at the event that honoured team captain Neema with the cap that symbolised the Legend’s REUNION 2022.

A coveted lapel pin specially made the mark of historic REUNION 2022 was presented to coach Riziki.

He also applauded Shreekumar for his administrative prowess that inspires cricketers to take the nation to greater heights.

Sreekumar was also presented with a lapel pin as a mark if respect for the Chair. It was a moment of pride. Vaishnav noted that refreshed ideas coming from TCA chairman Sreekumar and support for the Patel Brotherhood Patel Samaj (PBPS) led by Harish Patel who celebrated its cricket festival along with the first reunion event in 2022 has encouraged them to organise the event once again in Dar es Salaam and Bagamoyo.

He noted that the proposed event Programme will be split between Dar es Salaam and the historically sunny destination of Bagamoyo in the Coast Region.

This is not only an event important for sports development, but also a very huge platform for a sports tourism boost.

Moreover, Reunion considered invitations to acclaimed cricket legends from Kenya and Uganda, which countries, joined them in the formation of the East Africa Cricket Conference which staged a Triangular tournament and played the coveted Sir Robert Menzes Trophy in a living testimony.

Vaishnav stressed that the event would also allow legends who missed the first event to experience a wonderful festival.

Over 37 legendary cricketers living abroad reunite those living in the country to participate in the PBPS cricket festival held in Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar in October 2022 and many eager awaited to meet again this October including the eldest in the group a former cricket star of Tanzania, England based Ramesh Patel 87 aged.

But what brought back such former players in their birth country after so many years as they describe is the strong leadership mind of President Samia has maintained for three years now.

As Vaishnav said the idea started way back on 21 May 2021, after having brainstormed with like-minded friends, and launched a WhatsApp Group for Tanzania’s Veteran Cricketers.

The idea has just started two months after President Samia entered office is proof that has attracted not only sports personalities in the country but also those outside.

It was indeed fitting for legendary cricketers to celebrate cricket and cricketers of the past and present on the land of Kilimanjaro and Zanzibar and now add Bagamoyo but also their love for the game that has brought them back.

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