Usually it is soccer, netball or volleyball that color regional sports tournaments, but for the case of East Africa Cup 2023, it is Chess which slowly but surely took the driving seat.
“Chess may not be as popular as soccer, but it stimulates the brain and aids thinking among the youth,” said Irene Urassa the Chess Coach from Iyanna Foundation of Arusha.
According to Irene, so far her foundation has brought aboard more than 300 youth who have been taught to play international chess.
During the 2023 East Africa Cup held in Moshi, Kilimanjaro, Tanzanian students managed to beat their Kenyan counterpart.
One of the young Chess players, Stefano Emmanuel, from Usa-River Youth, was the winner of the Chess games during the tourney and credited his achievements to Iyanna Foundation.
In other games it was an equal split between Kenya and Tanzania in the just concluded East Africa Cup tourney held in Moshi, Kilimanjaro.
“The East Africa Cup tourney is among the most useful and productive sporting events because it combines life skills training and throughout the years the tourney has been producing international players,” said Prisca, the spokesperson for the sporting feat.
Unlike in the previous events, there were only two types of games in the 2023 UNESCO sponsored East Africa Cup, soccer and Chess.
However, there were a number of cultural performances and interventions during the sporting events in Moshi.
But the number of participating countries this year has also dropped to just two, Kenya and Tanzania.
David Ochieng Onyango, who works for UNESCO regional office for East Africa, says they are the main supporters for East Africa Cup through the ‘Fit for Life,’ initiative, which promotes community sports and culture.
In football, Kenya won the Under-13 category of youth players, while Tanzania managed to win in the Under 16 categories of both boys and girls.
The Angaza Sports Development Boys team from Nairobi beat their fellow Kenyans, the Ayiera Initiative 2-1.
The Ayiera Initiative on the other hand, fought back and won the Under 13 Girls Category after beating the Center for Sports and Growth.
For the Under-16 Boys category the Msimamo Youth from Tanzania managed to win the trophy.
The Arusha Youth Development, on the other hand topped the Under-16 Girls Soccer Category which was another win for Tanzania.
The final matches were staged at Moshi Technical School.
It was the 20th installment of the tourney usually held at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro.
There were 25 teams with 60 percent of them hailing from various regions of Tanzania, the host country, while the remaining 40 percent were Kenyan teams.
As for chess games, many Tanzanian youth seemed to perform better than their Kenyan counterparts.