THE Robert Cup 2012 basketball tournament culminated in Mwanza at the weekend with the region's young players overcoming their senior counterparts 48-33 in an entertaining clash at the Saint Augustine University of Tanzania (SAUT) venue.
Mwanza Regional Basketball Association (MRBA) organized the annual tournament in cooperation with the Kabaka family in the memory of the family's member, the late Robert Chacha Kabaka, who was one of the founders of Butimba Spider Club and a dedicated basketball stakeholder in the region.
MRBA Acting Secretary General, Kizito Bahati, said this year's tournament experienced changes in terms of the format, in which participating players requested that there should be a duel involving young players and veterans.
"This year's tournament brought together two outfits, the first comprising players that have been competing in the event prior to 2001 while the other had players that have been participating from 2002 up to present", he said.
Bahati said in the past, the tournament was played either in league or bonanza format but, this time around, the players requested to change the format, in which the new approach was to involve young players against the veterans.
He said the young players led throughout the four quarters of the match, in which they were 12-10 ahead in the first quarter and then led 13-6, 10-9 and 13-8 respectively in the remaining quarters. Sebastian Marwa scored 12 points to lead the rest of the young players' squad to the triumph, followed by Baraka Lucas and Henrico Maengela, who had eight points apiece.
In the veterans' squad, Selemani Abdula was the top scorer with 17 points, followed by Amri Mohamed, Shomari Almas and Benson Nyasebwa, who scored five points apiece. "The match also served as a special occasion to bid farewell to basketball players studying at SAUT and are about to graduate.
The players have been representing SAUT team in the Robert Cup for the past three years", said Bahati. He mentioned the players as Baraka Lucas and Benson Nyasebwa, with the latter having been participating in the Robert Cup for over ten years.
Nyasebwa had started competing in the event when he was studying at Butimba Teachers Training College and representing Musoma's Mwembeni Club at the time. The Minister for Labour and Youth Development, Gaudensia Kabaka, who is MRBA matron and the mother of the late Robert, issued an advice to the players via the phone saying the latter should use sports to curb the spread of HIV/AIDS and Malaria, as the tournament's slogan, Basketball against HIV/AIDS, suggested.
She also insisted that sports serve as the better opportunity for youths to meet and exchange constructive ideas. Participating players in the tournament came from the region's clubs including Bugando Planet, Bugando Heat, Bugando Warriors, Butimba Spiders, Mwembeni of Musoma, Dolphin Pasiansi, SAUT, Mwanza Eagles, St Francis and Nyakato Brandon.