Standing ovation for sports in cementing Union

SPORTS and entertainment have been among the cores of unification as we mark the 59th anniversary of United Republic of Tanzania today.

For over five decades now people of the Tanzanian Mainland and the Isles did together various sports disciplines and socio-cultural activities most notably music and traditional dances besides sporting events in football, hockey.

Netball and volleyball in what most often labelled as Muungano (Union) Cup tournaments.

Tanzanians have a lot to cherish in the 59 years of the union is the area of sports, especially football.

The number of players involved in the national team, clubs and instructors are among the living proof of the union.

Listing some players who recently played for Young Africans and a few others who still serve the club; these include Nadir Haroub Ali (Cannavaro), Feisal Salum Abdalla, Said Juma Ally (Makapu), Abdulaziz Makame Hassan, Ibrahim Abdallah Hamad (Bacca), and Mudathir Yahya Abbas.

In Simba, players who served and a few who still play for the club from Zanzibar include Ibrahim Mohamed Ame, Mohammed Musa, Abdulhalim Humoud Mohamed, and Ally Salim Juma Khatoro.

Others who serve Azam FC from Zanzibar include Khelffin Salum Hamdoun, Aggrey Morris Ambros, Mudathir Yahya Abbas and Abdalla Salum Kheri.

History reflects many players travel from Zanzibar to join Mainland teams. Still, some, like Edibily Lunyamila, Nico Bambaga and Clement Kahabuka, are among the stars from the Mainland to play in Zanzibar in their prime.

Apart from most players from Zanzibar playing for Tanzanian clubs, only some managed to star in Mainland and Isles clubs.

The late Rifat Said Mohammed is among the many players who starred in teams from the Mainland and Isles, where most remember him for his body, physique and skills as the goalkeeper attracting most teams and coaches of the national teams of Zanzibar and Tanzania.

In Zanzibar, he played for Miembeni, Mlandege and Malindi SC. On the Mainland side, Riffat played for the Coastal Union and Yanga.

Besides the number of players who enjoyed football in both the Mainland and the Islands, some instructors have made landmarks in both parts of Tanzania.

Among them is the women’s national team coach Bakari Shime from Zanzibar, who also tutored the youth men’s team.

In his campaign, he has brought success and trophies to the country, including winning COSAFA Women’s Championship but also managed to seal Tanzanians’ first ticket to the FIFA World Cup last year, where, despite playing for the first global competition, they sailed to the quarterfinals.

Other than Shime, Hemed Suleiman (Morocco) is among the few coaches from Zanzibar who have displayed quality in their services on different clubs in Tanzania, including Namungo FC and Kinondoni Municipal Council (KMC) FC.

Morocco had a successful campaign in CAF Confederation Cup in 2021. He excelled the team to the group stage despite not advancing to the quarterfinals.

Namungo FC picked big wins; among them, they recorded a 6-2 victory against CD de Agosto of Angola in a playoff encounter at the Azam Complex in Dar es Salaam.

These are the fruits of the union, players and coaches marking milestones in the sports world.

Despite all, Tanzania had a union league lasting more than 21 years.

The union league officially started in 1982; the aim was to maintain the union and provide equal representation in the CAF inter-club due to Mainland and Isles having their leagues separately.

The league included the three teams that finished top in the respective leagues and got the chance to represent the United Republic in the CAF inter-club.

Young Africans won the silverware six times, while Simba won five.

Majimaji sealed three times, Malindi twice and KMKM once. Other teams that won the title included: Tanzania Prisons, Pamba, Pan Africa and African Sports.



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