Will Tanzanian teams shine in this year’s East African Community (EAC) Inter-Parliamentary Games?
This a multi-million shillings question on the lips of many local sports fans as legislators from the EAC partner states battle it out for top honours in the eighth Games, which kicked off on Sunday at the National Stadium.
In the recent past, local teams have been performing poorly in the games.
Last year, for instance, the Parliament of Tanzania won the title only in netball and came third in women’s volleyball in Mombasa, Kenya. Uganda retained the soccer title while the Parliament of Kenya emerged victorious in the men’s volleyball stint.
Kenya also won the golf trophy with Uganda and Burundi emerging first and second runners up respectively in the race for netball title, which was retained by Tanzania for the second year running.
Besides soccer, Uganda also took the tug-of-war titles for both men’s and women’s categories.
Rwanda won the women’s volleyball title but was second placed in men’s volleyball ahead of Uganda which emerged third.
The competition normally attracts teams competing various sports events from the Parliaments of the six EAC partner states; Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda and South Sudan as well as sports teams from the East African Legislative Assembly (Eala).
Tanzanian parliamentarians were quoted over the weekend saying, their teams were ready for the sports bonanza. Other competitions will take place at the JMK Youth Park.
“We are fully ready for the competition and this time around we are aiming to be crowned the overall champions,” declared William Ngeleja, the Bunge sports team chairman over the weekend.
The Parliament of Tanzania will field teams in football, netball, volleyball, athletics, tug-of-war and walking.
According to Bobi Odiko, the senior public relations officer with Eala, which organises the games, Rwanda and South Sudan have this time sent apologies they will not send teams to the ten-day tournament. No reasons were given.
Rwanda has featured regularly in the games held each year while for South Sudan, which joined the EAC last year, this would be their first time to participate.
This year’s e Games are themed: “Integrating Citizens and Strengthening Inter-Parliamentary Relations through Sports”.