The past few weeks have included a few sporting victories, either playing or watching.
Firstly, as you may have seen on Facebook, I went to Arusha as part of our Mwanza Tossers Ultimate Frisbee team to compete in the East Africa Ultimate Frisbee Tournament. It was only a small scale tournament with just 4 teams taking part: ourselves (Mwanza), Arusha, Moshi and Nairobi. Nevertheless it was still really good fun to play and meet players from different teams around the region.
Over the 2 day competition we won, not losing a game the entire time! I was nominated captain for the tournament which was a learning experience for me and involved finding out rules, checking on contentious issues, team selection and a post tournament media interview! The first day was a round robin competition where we played Arusha (13-3), Moshi (13-3) and Nairobi (9-4). Nairobi was by far the most testing encounter but did end up at just 5-a-side due to injuries! In the semi final draw Moshi had decided to withdraw but another Arusha team was formed so we played Arusha A in the semis (13-2) and Nairobi progressed against Arusha B (13-0). The final was a close, tense affair ending 8-8 after normal time and despite some mistakes that I’m sure would not have happened in any other game, we ended up victorious 10-9 in sudden death! As winners we received commemorative t-shirts of the event but no trophy (good job as we don’t have a cabinet to keep it in). Very pleased with the tossers first ever tournament victory but we still have a lot to learn to play to the true ultimate spirit of the game. Most likely because our practices are such friendly affairs we never particularly practice in a competitive environment to refine our knowledge of the rules and correct procedures.
Overall the visit to Arusha was a fun experience: The bus journey there (11 hours – 6AM – 5PM) was good. I definately recommend ‘Bestline’ as one of the best lines with actual person sized seats and no breakdowns! I was glad to only need the toilet at the right time during our only 10 minute break and managed to sleep for an estimated 70% of the journey which I was pleased with. The bus back with a different company was a little more squashed but still no breakdowns so was more than happy! I think the local buses are fine here as long as you just accept you are going to lose a day travelling, but find the right bus and get lucky and it is fine.
Arusha itself was a nice place to spend a few days. I really enjoyed having views of the 4,565 metre (14,977 ft) Mt. Meru towering over the city and I did manage to get up one day to see the summit and side of the mountain peeking through the cloud. This is Tanzania’s second highest peak after Kilimanjaro and one I would consider climbing some day. The rest of Arusha felt quite organised compared to Mwanza, again there was a good size supermarket, good quality roads, and a few bars to celebrate and watch football in! I guess it is much more set up for tourists than Mwanza is at the moment so needs to have a little more organisation. Even the guest house we stayed in which was a worryingly low 5000 TSH a night (£2) was fine with a comfortable (if you are my height) bed, hot shower and clean (albeit longdrop) toilets.
Finally, I kept meaning to mention that I saw my first international game here! The CCM Kirumba stadium here hosted the international friendly between Tanzania and Kenya. Prior to the game our TSC Academy U17 team had a game against another local academy which we unfortunately lost but it was great for the boys to precede an international game! I wasn’t expecting much from Tanzania but they pulled out an excellent 1-0 victory and gave me hope for the future with some excellent performances in a sturdy defence and a couple of players with some serious gas in attack! So overall, a good couple of weeks for sporting victories – although for the third time Derby have been on TV here -vs Birmingham this time I managed to miss it again! Maybe next time, although most likely I will be doing busy, my phone won’t be working to find out it’s on, or some other cruel twist will make it not possible…..