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Updated: December 13, 2018
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Compiled and Copyright © 1997-2019 by Marco Stoovelaar

(Story by Marco Stoovelaar)

New baseball-field opened in Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM (Tanzania) - On Thursday (December 13), the World Baseball Softball Confederation (WBSC) reported that a new baseball-field has been opened in Tanzania. The complex is located in Dar es Salaam, the biggest city of this African country. The baseball-field was funded by the Embassy of Japan through the Grant Assistance Program for Cultural Grassroots Projects.

The costs to realize the field was more than 80,000 American Dollars. The Osaka North Rotary Club of Japan supported the project with 18,000 Dollars, which covered various items. Construction of the field begin in April and was completed on September 15, the Tanzania Baseball and Softball Association announced. In the stadium-like construction there are 180 seats for general attendance and 100 VIP-seats in the shade. There are more than 700 standing places.

Kassim Majaliwa, the Prime Minister of the United Republic of Tanzania, was at the opening ceremony of the complex. Also in attendance were the wife and son of David Robinson, who is one of the big supporters of the development of baseball in Tanzania. David Robinson (born in 1952) is the son of legendary Major League-player Jackie Robinson, who played for Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947-1956. Since 1983, David Robinson is involved in the economic development of Africa through sustainable agriculture and is a coffee-farmer at Sweet Unity Farms in the city of Mbeya. Robinson lives in Dar es Salaam.

On April 15, 1947, Jackie Robinson made his debut in the Major League. With that, he broke the color barrier in baseball, becoming the first African American player to play in the highest professional league. Robinson was the Rookie of the Year in 1947, the National League Most Valuable Player in 1949, won the World Series in 1955 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1962. According to a poll conducted in 1947, Jackie Robinson was the second most popular man in the country behind singer and actor Bing Crosby. His uniform number 42 was retired by all Major League-teams in his honor in 1997. April 15 is Jackie Robinson Day in the Major League since 2004. On that day, all players, managers, coaches and umpires wear uniform number 42, which was first done in 2009.

Tanzania is one of 20 countries on the African continent where baseball and/or softball is played and is a member of the African Baseball and Softball Association. Both baseball and softball is played in fifteen countries, being Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Nigeria, South Africa, Sierra Leone, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe. In two countries only baseball is played, Ivory Coast and Togo. Three other countries only have softball, being Gambia, Namibia and Senegal.

Baseball was introduced in Tanzania in January 2012 by Shinya Tomonari from Japan, who was the Chairman of the Association for Friends of African Baseball. Since then, the sport is being played in schools in several cities. On May 12, 2014, the Tanzania Baseball and Softball Association was founded. In December 2014, the first National Baseball Competition was played at Azania Secondary School in Dar es Salaam. Tanzania, together with Congo and Saint Maarten, became a member of the World Baseball Softball Conderation in October 2017.

(December 13)

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