15. July 2024

League start in Tanzania

Historical moment for TanZebras FC!

It is these certain moments that fill one with incredible pride.

You look back on what you have achieved so far, you enjoy the moment and then you look forward again to the countless tasks that still have to be done. The moment of enjoyment was for the herd of zebras and the TanZebras this weekend. Only a good six years after their foundation, the TanZebras FC are now taking part in the official game in Tanzania.

“We have the license!” – Those were the magic words of Don Henry Mwakilambo, our local contact. At first we were speechless, then the friends prevailed and very quickly the certainty came that the organisation is only just beginning. A few weeks have passed since then. With the help of numerous MSV Duisburg fans, all 61 children and teenagers of the TanZebras could be provided with health insurance – an absolute highlight, as many have never seen a doctor in their lives. A homepage is under construction, first player contracts are in the making, many things were masterfully organized over the distance and the days and weeks passed by rapidly. And now the time has come – league start!

Think… The information of the Tanzanian Football Association is rather poor. On Monday, five days before the start of the league, the game plan should be ready. We are still waiting, but “this is Tanzania – don’t ask why,” Don writes in the WhatsApp chat. Which teams the TanZebras will face in their premiere year is also still unclear, but “this is Tanzania – don’t ask why,” reports Mathias Langnickel, who has already been on site several times for the herd of zebras. The preparations, until the ball really starts rolling, continue. The team is highly motivated and is preparing meticulously for the first league game. As soon as the opponent is determined and we know whether it’s a home or away game, we’ll report on it, but “this is Tanzania – don’t ask why,” smiles exiled Zebra Joerg, who almost six years ago pioneered the creation of the TanZebras.

“Of course, the uncertainty is totally crazy”

Tim Jost had a very similar experience a few years ago. During his sports studies, he went to Tanzania for a year, where he worked for a first division club in the coaching team, later even as head coach. “We had a cup match back then, but nobody knew about it, not even the head coach, and suddenly it was said that you were playing tomorrow. That’s the way it is,” he explains with a broad grin on his face. He has recorded his experiences in his book ‘Ballzauber in Tansania’. We absolutely recommend reading it! Talking to him, it quickly became clear that the topics were on the same wavelength. A lively exchange developed and numerous ideas were exchanged, but more about this at a later date.

The TanZebras will compete in the fourth league. This is comparable to the German regional league from the Deutscher Fußball-Bund. In this case the opponents come from the greater area of the capital Dar-Es-Salaam. With the stylish blue and white striped jerseys and football boots from our fundraising campaign last year, the DanceZebras will definitely attract attention and give their all on the pitch. It is uncertain whether it will be enough for technical masterpieces, because already in the upper leagues “there are places where you can hardly walk straight ahead”, Jost remembers. The football enthusiasm in the country is huge, the conditions are often difficult. That’s one of the reasons why it’s a great desire for us to support the TanZebras with various projects, but also to demand that they can act independently at some point. In any case, we are incredibly proud of the whole association and look forward to a successful, common future! Football connects – Football is our DNA!

📸: Zebraherde e.V., TanZebras FC, Tim Jost

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