PRIME Minister Mizengo Pinda showed his basketball skills after winning two free throws to mark the opening of the FIBA Africa Zone Five championship at the National Indoor Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
He managed a swish in the first throw, failed in the second attempt and won a third throw, amid cheers from basketball enthusiasts who thronged the venue to witness the opening of the championship that has attracted seven nations.
Pinda used the occasion to remind the public on the importance of utilising sports activities to improve the quality of life of individuals, secure best value, and provides them with a power to "advance well-being" in their local areas. He said sports can be used to advance economic, social and cultural well-being of the society.
"It is important we use sports event to educate people on the fight against malaria, HIV/AIDS, poverty and cruelty against women, children and albino," he said. In his opening remarks he also expressed the government's commitment to ensure that sports infrastructures are conducive so that the country could host more international events.
Premier Pinda also challenged the Tanzania Basketball Federation (TBF) to ensure they have in place realistic and achievable development programmes that will see to it that the country ranks high in the world. However, the day was not all that good for the local teams as both men and women teams were all taught good basketball lessons in their respective matches.
The ladies team (Tanzanite Queens) failed to capitalize on the home ground advantage after they succumbed to a 32-71 points defeat at the hands of Kenya. The Tanzanite Queens looked disorganized from the word go despite the massive support of fans that turned up to cheer them yesterday where the Kenyans meant business.
Generally, it was a good day for Kenya as their men's team registered a 72-63 point's win at the hands of Burundi. Tanzania men's side (Tanzanite Kings) tumbled to an argonising 80-66 defeat to Uganda in a match that served as an official opening of the event.
It was a bright start for the home side as they took an emphatic 17-11 lead in the first quarter, which gave the local fans a glimmer of hopes. However, the Ugandans come out a different outfit after half time, firing from all angles to the amazement of the majority, as the hosts' celebrations were short lived.
The Tanzanite Kings failed to contain Ugandans' pressure and were pegged down whereas the visitors capitalized on their weakness to score quick points and finished the third quarter leading. The last quarter was rather a seesaw affair with the Tanzanite Kings trying to rescue the game but the Ugandans' were much smarter and it paid them well as they finish the game winners.