Arusha has a problem; the metropolitan city doesn’t seem to have any public basketball pitches, despite the increasing popularity of the sport in the precinct.
Even worse, poor urban planning and invasion of open spaces among real estate developers in Arusha, means there are no vacant grounds on which to establish the playing courts.
The Chairperson of Arusha Region Basketball Association (ARBA) Jackob Gibbons says they are negotiating with local authorities to see the possibility of getting permanent grounds for the purpose.
“At the moment we are compelled to use basketball courts that belong or are operated by parastatals, schools, colleges and other education institutions,” points out Gibbons.
He adds that it is high time that Arusha gets public basketball grounds without restrictions, limits or boundaries.
“We want places where people can enter freely without being asked at the gates,” he states.
“It is our wish that basketball should be played in every street, in Arusha, which means we need various venues for the sport,” adds the ARBA Chairperson.
According to Gibbons, basketball is a game targeting the youth and for the youngsters to be comfortable they need to be practicing near their homes.
“Arusha is the only place in Tanzania where the youth get incubated into basketball sports from tender ages,” says Gibbons.
He however points out that parents normally do not want their children to venture far from their houses or homes when going to practice or play basketball.
In Arusha, the Soweto grounds and Kijenge Courts owned by the Arusha International Conference Center (AICC) are the major venues used for Basketball games and exercising.
Arusha is the epicenter for basketball games in Tanzania with better response and participation among the local youth, thus ARBA wants to maintain this coveted gaming status.
There are two organizations currently dealing with basketball promotion in Arusha, ‘Pamoja’ and ‘Mtaani’ basketball.