What started as a small project in a suburb of the Tanzanian capital Dar Es Salaam six years ago culminated in the participation in the regular league operation of the country in the past season – with a spectacular outcome!
The story of the young street footballers began six years ago. Many of the children were no older than nine or ten years at the time. Today the first season under the auspices of the Tanzanian Football Federation is behind them. Against seasoned footballers with many years of experience on the pitch, the TanZebras achieved two victories in a season shortened to four matchdays. The first game was lost 3-0 to the Global Winners – a lesson that the TanZebras had to pay in the premiere game. Two victories followed and suddenly the kickers even greeted from the top of the table – with a negative goal difference, just like the great idols from Meiderich!
In the last game of the season the second defeat against Utulivu FC had to be accepted. The two goal scorers Mosses Alto and Jordan James Mlada were missing due to injury. Since the direct competitors scored a 4-0 win two days later, the promotion dreams were suddenly shattered – or so we thought. The zebra herd had just received news from Tanzania that not the first two teams but the first three teams in each group would advance to the third division. The TanZebras have thus directly made it to the next league in their first year of regular play!
Jörg Ahlbach, founding member of TanZebras: “In their first season in the league, the TanZebras turned out to be a powerful team that could keep up with seasoned teams. We are very proud of the team and are already looking forward to the coming season – then as a newly formed third league team.”
Don Mwakilambo, team manager: “We are absolutely thrilled! The team received the news with cheers. What we have achieved in such a short time is simply beyond words. It makes me incredibly proud to be part of the team. Football is our DNA!”