Basketball coaches for US tour

US Embassy cultural affairs officer Karen Grissette (standing) speaks during a brief function to bid farewell to 20 Tanzanian basketball coaches who left Dar es Salaam for Washington DC yesterday, for a two weeks coaching course.

Twenty Tanzanian basketball coaches from nine regions boarded a Washington DC-bound flight yesterday evening where they are scheduled to attend a two-weeklong clinic.

The course was supposed to start yesterday through October 13 where the coaches would train in Washington DC and other states of Virginia, Maryland and Texas.

The assistant director of sports in the National Sports Council, Juliana Yassoda, is the leader of the delegation.

The coaches are from Dar es Salaam, Morogoro, Mwanza, Dodoma, Arusha, Moshi, Tanga, Unguja and Pemba.

The full line-up of the coaches are namely, Kizito Bahati and Diana Gabriel (Mwanza), Bahati Mgunda, Dasse Makulla, Agnela Semwaiko. Franklin Simkoko, Evarist Mapunda and Amina Mfaume (Dar es Salaam), Yusra Salum, Suleiman and Haji Gidibo Tindwa (Unguja), Hussein Hussein (Pemba), Ahmed Ahmed and Debora Mnzava (Tanga), Jacob Chuma and Prisca Mateza (Morogoro), Yassin Musira (Dodoma), William Mkunya (Moshi) and Alijua Simeon (Arusha).

The American Embassy cultural affairs officer, Karen Grissette, and the National Sports Council chairman, Iddi Kipingu, bade farewell to the coaches at a brief function held in Dar es Salaam yesterday.

The coaches will be offered clinics, especially targeting youth programs, as well as skills on how to upgrade sports among the youth in Tanzania.

Their itinerary indicates that they will visit primary and secondary schools, universities, youth and professional centres.

The visit will not be confined to basketball as their hosts have also included a visit to other sports complexes and be briefed on how to organise and run such kind of facilities.

The coaches are expected to have clinics on sports for disabled and watch college football games, among other activities during their tour.

The training course is fully funded by the United States Embassy in Tanzania as a move towards promotion of the sport in the country.

The coaches’ entourage is part of the exchange programme between Tanzania and United States.

Last year the United States sent two basketball coaches, namely Matt Bonner and Olympic medalist Jenniffer Azzi, who toured the country to impart basketball knowledge.

Tanzania and the United States have improved sports relationship, especially basketball, following President Jakaya Kikwette’s initiatives.

Hasheem Thabeet’s penetration into the NBA ranks is also one of the strong catalysts that have continued cementing the basketball relationship between the two countries.

Meanwhile, the Tanzania Basketball Federation’s secretary general, Lawrence Cheyo, expressed his appreciation of the Embassy of United States and the Ministry of Information, Culture and Sports for facilitating the coaches’ training tour.

Cheyo said on behalf of TBF, the body has been highly impressed by the exchange programme aiming at not only improving relationship between the two countries but also creating a strong bond through basketball.

Cheyo extended his appreciation to President Kikwete whom he said played a crucial role in bringing the status of basketball where it is today.

He said the entourage is a rare motivation.

Lastly, though rarely, Cheyo appreciated what the media is doing in publicity of basketball, both electronic and print media.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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