TCA delighted with Tanzania squads' performance in 2024 All-Africa Games

By Guardian Correspondent , The Guardian
Published at 04:33 PM Mar 23 2024
Tanzania's senior national women's cricket squad all-rounder Perice Zakayo bowls against Namibia in the 2024 All-Africa Games clash which took place in Ghana recently.
Tanzania's senior national women's cricket squad all-rounder Perice Zakayo bowls against Namibia in the 2024 All-Africa Games clash which took place in Ghana recently.

TANZANIA Cricket Association (TCA) has stated it is happy with the country's men's and women's teams' performance in the 2024 All-Africa Games currently taking place in Ghana.

The association's leaders are adamant the future of the game in the country is bright.

Both men's and women's cricket teams were eliminated from the Games. The men's team, last Wednesday night, lost to Namibia by seven wickets.

Atif Salim, TCA Media and Communication Officer, said the teams did very well and the association focuses on giving the national teams more international exposure.

The Tanzania men's team started the All-Africa Games in Ghana by defeating Nigeria by 47 runs and lost the second game against Zimbabwe by four wickets while on Wednesday Tanzania lost to Namibia by seven wickets.

In the first All-Africa Games assignment, the national women's team confronted Nigeria and the tie was concluded as a no result as it could not proceed due to heavy rains. The teams took a point apiece in the clash.

After the match against Nigeria, Tanzania's women's team lost to South Africa by eight wickets. Tanzania went in to bat first- registered 66 runs all out in 18.3 overs.

South Africa thereafter smoothly got down to a successful chase when they registered 67 runs, dropping two wickets in 10.2 overs.

Before competing in the 2024 All-Africa Games, the Tanzania women's team lifted the 2024 Nigeria Invitational Women's T20I Tournament top honour, in which the side ended the round-robin tournament with victory in five fixtures and one loss to set up the best net run rate of 2.867.

The Nigeria Invitational Women's T20I Tournament, which took place in Lagos, had witnessed Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, and the host Nigeria battling it out. 

Both Tanzania men's and women's games were held in Twenty20 International format. This was the first time that cricket took place in the All-Africa Games.

Salim further said lack of international exposure contributed to Tanzania teams' failure to reach medal medal-winning stage.

The TCA official revealed: “I think our teams did reasonably well, it is just that we couldn’t cross the final hurdle, the women's team suffered due to the match against Nigeria being washed out due to rain, and points were shared."

"The men's squad is always placed in tough groups- having to face higher ranked opponents, yet, we beat Nigeria and showed good account of ourselves against Zimbabwe and Namibia," Salim noted.

“We also have to account that we had many debutants for both men's and women's teams, many players did not have international exposure, hence, I'm sure in the future, with more international games, the teams will improve,” he said.

Meanwhile, TCA Chairman Balakrishna Sreekumar and the association's vice chairman Ashish Nagewadia expressed elation over Tanzania's victory in the 2024 Nigeria Invitational Women's T20I tournament.

He said despite a challenging start marked by the loss to Rwanda, the national women's team did well.

He highlighted the youthfulness of the women's team, emphasizing the squad's cricketers' potential for growth in the sport.

Sreekumar outlined plans for regular training camps and increased match opportunities for the national women's team in the coming months, saying under his leadership, the Muhimbili Cricket Academy- founded in Dar es Salaam- has undergone significant revamping, with facilities now offered at no cost to clubs, aiming to enhance access to training resources.

Beyond the cricket field, TCA is committed to supporting players' financial security post-retirement. Sreekumar detailed initiatives such as sponsoring players for activities like either baking or beautician courses, ensuring they can sustain themselves beyond their cricketing careers.

Furthermore, he expressed gratitude to President Samia Suluhu Hassan for her unwavering support of the sports sector, citing Tanzania's notable participation in the All-Africa Games as a testament to the country's sporting prowess and political stability.

Nagewadia reflected on the challenges faced in the three months he has served in TCA, including limited preparation time for international tournaments.

The official revealed despite these obstacles, both the men's and women's teams have successfully participated in various tournaments, showcasing Tanzania's cricketing talent on the global stage.

Nagewadia also commended the full funding of the Dar es Salaam cricket leagues by TCA, a significant milestone under new management, enabling clubs to focus on internal development and player growth.

The two TCA leaders said the association's management is focused on creating sustainable livelihoods for players through cricket, adding initiatives such as players' contracts are in the pipeline- seeking to provide stability and support to athletes.

The vice president emphasized the importance of open communication between the board and players, fostering a conducive environment for collaboration and growth within the cricketing community.

“The men's team's exceptional performance which had it qualifying for the ICC Cricket World Cup Challenge League showcases Tanzania's growing influence in international cricket, surpassing anticipated achievements,” he said.

Nagewadia highlighted the positive relations with other cricket boards, paving the way for potential exchange programs and collaborations, as exemplified by Sreekumar's recent visit to India's National Cricket Academy.

Sreekumar and Nagewadia said they remain dedicated to nurturing cricketing talent in Tanzania, fostering growth, and ensuring a bright future for the sport in the country. 

With a strong foundation laid and ambitious plans in motion, Tanzania's cricketing journey promises to be one of continued success and excellence on the global stage.