TZ U-19 teams impress in Giants of Africa festival

THE National U-19 teams’ manager, Bahati Mgunda said he is impressed with the performance of both Boys and Girls’ teams in the ongoing Giant of Africa (GOA) Festival in Kigali, Rwanda.

The six-day  Youth Festival organised to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Giants of Africa’s establishment, is set to wind up tomorrow with Tanzania presented with 16 players (8 boys and 8 girls) in the event.

Mgunda told the ‘Daily News’ from Kigali on Saturday that the Tanzanian youths’ participation in the event has been very motivating.

He said the boys’ team has done tremendously well after winning two matches out of three they have played so far.

They started strongly by stamping a 25-22 victory over Ghana and went on to beat neighbours Uganda 21-20 in the second match before losing 24-17 to the hosts Rwanda.

The girls had endured a difficult start after losing two matches 26-13 to Senegal and 19-15 to DR Congo.

Tanzania boys’ team under coach Phabian Paul, comprises Onisa Raymond, Badru Bilali, Stanley Denis, Joseph Elias, Salum Ali, Mbatian Odupoi, Abdul Majid, and Samir Emmanuel.

While girls have drawn together Rehema Hemedi, Angela Tumsifu, Paulina William, Magreth Manawa, Nelious Edson, Everine Melembuki, Kinuno Happiness and Nawasa Lazaro under coach Maureen Peter.

“The youths are doing very well, talking about their performance in the game and the festival in general,” he said.

Mgunda stressed that over 16 countries including Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, DR Congo, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Mali, Morocco, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, South Sudan and Uganda youths’ teams are participating in the festival.

He said players also attend a particular basketball clinic as part of the Youth Festival.

Giants of Africa, a not-for-profit project, is dedicated to enriching the lives of African youths through sports and its co-founder is  Masai Ujiri, the Vice-Chairman and President of the Toronto Raptors.

Ujiri is keen to develop infrastructure and inspire African youths worldwide with programmes focused on education, empowerment, and leadership, both on and off the court.

He holds the distinction of being the first and only Africa-born President of a Professional Sports franchise in North America, specifically the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) Toronto Raptors.

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