30 July 2009

TANZANIA : Regional basketball tourney starts today

The FIBA Africa Zone Five Basketball Championship gets underway today in Kampala, Uganda with three Tanzanian teams ready to contend for the title.

Tanzania is represented by JKT, JKT Stars and the Army Basketball Club (ABC), which left for Kampala on Saturday for the tournament.

Tanzania Basketball Federation (TBF) secretary general Lawrence Cheyo was optimistic that the teams will excel despite facing financial hardships.

The tournament is deemed tough and exciting since almost all basketball giants from East, Central and Southern Africa will participate.
Falcons, Warriors and the reigning champions DMark Power who also hold the Ugandan title, are among several teams that will represent the hosts.

The three-time champions have a formidable squad that makes them favourites to retain the title.

Falcons are also among the teams which boast of strong sides like Tanzania' JKT and ABC.

Falcons defeated Seychelles' Premium Cobras to clinch the regional trophy in 2000 and have sailed through to the semi-finals in 1999 and 2001.

Other teams, which pose a big threat to Tanzanian teams, include Kenya Port Authority (Kenya) Bilpam Warriors (Sudan), Haegen (Somalia), New Stars (Burundi) and Kenya Commercial Bank.

The women's teams include Kampala International University, A-1 Challenge, KCC Leopards, KIU Rangers, UCU Lady Canons (Uganda) and Marine of Rwanda.
The event is held annually on rotational basis among member countries and helps to warm-up the teams before taking part in other international championships.
Tanzania locked herself out of the international and age category assignments for many years due to unending financial difficulties.

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