Purposeful Play in Zanzibar – CAC On Field : A Memoir!

On the crisp morning of October 15th, 2023, at 5 a.m., the vibrant city of Mwanza welcomed me to its airport, setting the stage for a fortnight of challenging yet fulfilling work. With a history of collaboration dating back to 2008, my journey of delivering tools for purposeful play with Coaches Across Continents (CAC) has been a tapestry of experiences, each thread weaving together the story of supporting coaches to create social impact through tailored purposeful play curriculums—an endeavor I hold close to my heart.

After a seamless journey, Zanzibar embraced me, and a taxi whisked me to Baraste Lodge at Mlandege ward, strategically nestled near the Mao Zedong Stadium—the canvas for our training.

In the afternoon, I connected with my assistant coach, Riziki Abubakari, a testament to the transformative power of CAC training. Riziki, having evolved into a stellar coach since her initial training, exuded energy, confidence, and a commanding voice—a beacon of inspiration for Zanzibar’s women. Our meeting with Madam Dalila, the training coordinator, marked the beginning of logistical discussions, setting the stage for the fortnight ahead.

Having worked with diverse organizations across Africa, the Women Empowerment Of Zanzibar (WEZA) stood out as a well-managed entity, instilling confidence that the upcoming fortnight would unfold seamlessly.

The grandeur of the opening ceremony on the 16th saw the Deputy President of Zanzibar Football Federation as the Chief Guest. Representatives from WAJAMAMA Foundation, Ministries, and Government leaders graced the occasion. As ambassadors of CAC, we introduced ourselves, shedding light on CAC’s history, ethos, the essence of purposeful play, and sought wholehearted participation from the attendees.

The training roster featured 37 participants, a diverse ensemble comprising professionals from the military, police force, doctors, media personnel, and even a former national team captain—Abdi Kassim Abdi (Babi), a FIFA B license coach, alongside a FIFA referee. This eclectic mix promised a unique training experience.

Under the expert orchestration of Petra Karume, Director of WEZA, logistics seamlessly aligned—from delectable cuisine to well-equipped facilities. CAC’s bespoke curriculum, spanning life skills, good health, gender equity, and child rights, unfolded over ten days, alternating between field and classroom settings.

WEZA facilitated discussions with other organizations like the WAJAMAMA Foundation, Ministry for Education and Vocational Training, and the Ministry for Health. A groundbreaking aspect of the training was coaching individuals with special needs. Inclusive roles were crafted, and discussions on menstruation, involving both men and women, provided valuable insights.

As birthdays were celebrated with cake, the penultimate day showcased the coaches leading their own games—a ‘coach back.’ One standout was an 18-year-old tour guide who not only led with confidence but demonstrated exceptional coaching skills. Identified by CAC for the professional pathway, her talent shone.

Acknowledging outstanding contributions, jerseys were awarded to her and another young woman with disabilities. The closing ceremony, graced by Hon. Tabia Maulid Mwita, Minister of Information, Youth, Culture, and Sport, culminated in a joyous atmosphere, captured by media outlets.

Special guests immersed themselves in purposeful play games, adding a lively touch to the event. Expressing gratitude to participants, I urged them to carry their newfound knowledge into their organizations. Thanks were extended to WEZA, the French Embassy for sponsorship, and all stakeholders who contributed to this enriching fortnight.

A heartening promise from the Hon. Minister ensured each coach received a football, courtesy of the Hon. President of Zanzibar, Dr. Hussein Mwinyi—a symbolic token of appreciation. With Pemba on the horizon in January, the anticipation for another chapter of impactful coaching with Coaches Across Continents is palpable.

Tanzanian Satellite Officer Manager
Coaches Across Continents

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