5 December 2017

East Africa: Sports Vital for EAC Unity - PM

UGANDA and Kenya legislators battle for the ball during their East Africa Community (EAC) Inter-Parliamentary Games at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, yesterday. Uganda won 7-0. (Photo by Mohamed Mambo)

ATMOSPHERE at the ongoing East Africa Community (EAC) Inter-Parliamentary Games, taking place at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam once again signified that the people of East Africa nations are a strong unit.

And, Prime Minister, Kassim Majaliwa said sports are an important tool towards enhancing the regional integration. He said this yesterday at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam as he unveiled the first football match to test the newly refurbished pitch between hosts Tanzania and Burundi in the ongoing 8th edition of the EAC Inter-Parliamentary Games.

"Apart from the fact that sports helps to improve one's health, it is also crucial for the regional integration. We should make sure that we make good use of this rare opportunity," said the Premier, who holds class C football coaching licence.

He said MPs spend most of their time in office and engaging in sports, provide an opportunity for them to showcase their talents. "This is an opportunity for you to display your quality and attract top teams to sign you up," he said jokingly.

Majaliwa was also quick to caution legislators to adhere to 'fair play' on the pitch and to showcase good football worth watching by the spectators such that the winners and losers should be decided legitimately.

"Let we show the best example, by observing fair play and follow game rules. I know each team is well prepared to win the title, please show your quality. I wish all teams the best of luck," concluded Premier Majaliwa.

In the football match which ended 3-2 in favour of Tanzania, it was the home team that got the opening goal just eight minutes from the kick off through Mohammed Mchengerwa. The scorer utilised well defensive errors committed by the visiting side.

However, it took only two minutes for Burundians to cancel the lead as Jean Marie Cimpaye got the better of home team right back Rajab Kipila, who failed to rob him the ball and the winger's low flying ball easily beat Tanzania goalkeeper Hamidu Bubali.

It was a slow game but very entertaining as players of both teams displayed what they used to do before hanging up their boots to follow political careers. The hosts were not satisfied with the draw as Yusuph Gogo netted the second goal to his name mid way into the first half making it hard for the away team to make a quick reply this time until the whistle to mark the end of the mouth-watering first segment sounded.

At restart, Burundi began deploying more men upfront to equalise the deficit but Tanzania parliamentarians led by resolute central defender, William Ngeleja, were strong, making sure that they do not allow their net to be shaken.

Tanzania's Mchengerwa who scored first for the home side was benched in the second period for Mwigulu Nchemba, while Ally Hassan King paved way for Ridhwani Kikwete, who was given the captaincy arm-band and on several occasions he succeeded to cause panic to the visitors rear department only that he failed to hit at the back of the net.

Yusuph Gogo completed his brace on the day as he netted the third goal for the country's legislators to create a huge mountain for Burundi parliamentarians to climb. Just five minutes before the end of the tie, the visitors were awarded a spot-kick which was well converted by substitute Simon Gakinja to ease the defeat but it was too little and too late for them to emerge winners.

On Monday, the exciting tug-of-war competition saw Tanzania winning the male category as they overpowered Uganda, while in female category, Tanzania surrendered to Kenya. The fun continues today whereby Tanzania will host EALA in netball at the National Indoor Stadium before witnessing Burundi taking on Uganda in football tie at the National Stadium.

Later today, Uganda will play Burundi in netball and the last match will see Tanzania playing EALA.

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