Jamtown plans basketball exchange program in Tanzania for Bay Area kids

From left to right: Professional basketball coach Ameer Aziz, and Charles Mbaga, Tanzania Basketball Federation coordinator. Photo courtesy Charles Mbaga.

From left to right: Professional basketball coach Ameer Aziz, and Charles Mbaga, Tanzania Basketball Federation coordinator. Photo courtesy Charles Mbaga.

Ameer Aziz was playing basketball with his 8-year-old son at an Oakland park near 19th Street when he noticed something strange: a man instructing kids about how to play basketball. “Eventually, I walk to him and ask him what was he doing. Was he a coach? And then he spoke with an African accent and said, ‘No, I just like basketball,’” recalled Aziz about the encounter. He remembered thinking it was weird, because the man was doing it for free.

This is how Aziz, an ex-basketball player from New Jersey who played professionally abroad during the 1990’s, met Charles Mbaga, an ex-professional basketball player from Tanzania, an East African state. Mbaga, who has been in the United States for three years, is an ambassador for the Tanzania Basketball Federation, a group that advocates for the game at a local and international levels, and is drawing attention to the work his country is doing to promote the sport.

Together, the two men are now searching for sponsorship to fund a two-day basketball program for Bay Area kids to be recruited for a student exchange program that will allow them to travel to Tanzania. The goal of the event is to promote basketball as a discipline that creates opportunities for young people to achieve an education—and possibly even get a job in a sports-related field.

Aziz said basketball is a sport that allows people to build a sense of respect for others, to create relationships and to gain leadership within a community. Having that skillset allows for young people to find job opportunities eventually, he said. This is why he and Mbaga believe this event will benefit the participating kids in the long term.

“That’s the goal—for whatever craft or expertise we choose, whether it be [as an] electrician, a plumber, or a lawyer. To make money for your craft is key, after you study your craft for years,” said Aziz.

The event will be held this September at Jamtown, an Oakland basketball school located near Jack London Square. The program will be open for kids from ages 7 to 13 living in the Bay Area, and will include a competition after which the winners will have the opportunity to visit Tanzania. The organizers said the American students are expected to benefit by taking advantage of visiting a new country and participating in an international tournament.

“It’s a tremendous collaboration,” said Sam Moses, manager of Jamtown, of the idea of allowing American “kids to see a new style of how we play basketball here in the States.”

Eventually, the organizers hope to also bring kids from Tanzania to the United States, so they can take advantage of the sports programs available here. According to Mbaga, even though in Tanzania there is great interest in basketball, there is not the same access to equipment or transportation as there are in the United States. “This is a good opportunity,” said Mbaga. “America has good facilities [for] sports and academic access.”

Aziz and Mbaga are still in the process of raising enough money to fund both the Jamtown event and the subsequent exchange program. According to Mbaga, the plan is to provide free transportation to the Jamtown event for students interested in participating, security during the competition, and enough equipment for both the event and the exchange program.

41 Comments

  1. alpha

    Sky’s the Limit Charles. God will put his hand and bless u through out. I wish I could have had a chance to work u with guys on the other side. But nothing is impossible.

    Bless Rasta.

  2. Blak Main

    It is so good to see the heart of a person ready to share his passion and love for basketball to totally strange kids and far away from his place of birth.
    It is an Honor to be a part of such movement everywhere.
    Keep up the good spirit Charles Mbaga.
    Stay blessed

  3. Arden Kitomari

    Great stuff Charles Mbaga, keep it up and all the very best!

  4. David Alfred Mosha

    Congrats charles Mbaga wish All the best and I do belive you will act as bridge to most of youth in Tanzania who love basketball.

  5. Emanuel Godwin Mwamakula

    When i say spirit of the leader Man its like that bruh…and god bless u on ur next move we keep it real since day one #Congratulation

  6. I know Charles Mbaga as a big brother, Coming from the same neighborhood(Ilala Flats, Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania).

    Not only he taught the kids in the neighbourhood but he managed to fight hard to make sure we had a basketball court which some of us grew our love for the game.

    I am personally amazed and motivated by each progress he’s been making without giving up.

    Charles Mbaga has been and is still going to be an inspiration for most people in different ages.

    He’s one of the people that deserves a little bit more RECOGNITION in our country (Tanzania).

    Hongera Bro – Congratulations Bro

  7. lawrence

    Charles your doing a good job,may God bless each movement you make for our youth especially home Tanzania.Through your projects I am sure your going to save a lot of youth lives.May God be with you brother

  8. Samson Mponda

    Nice job , well done …. May God bless America and Tanzania…….

  9. Samson Mponda

    May God bless this project with the aim of raising Tanzanian kids …. Big respect to Mbaga, ameer Aziz, and USA NBA organization… We real need USA support in this project…. May God bless America

  10. Mike

    Remember the one step layup u tought me at @tpdc.. well it has ever been my best move.. Its great to see that ur plans are finally taking flight, i knw the kids have alot more to learn from u, just as i learned from u.
    Keep it up cousin ..ur on point, skys the limit ..God bless @Charles Mbaga a.k.a jiga ..much love.

  11. kolumba mwingira

    Yes yes liana mbaga..great job..1st and foremost I thank God that you are getting healthier each and every day..
    Keep doing what you doing liana mbaga..you are making us all so so so proud!!!!ILALA FLATS..STANDDDF. UP!

  12. Victor Nyakirang'ani

    Hongera Sana Jigga. Umetoka mbali!!! Toka enzi za Kontena Obay!!! Big Up

  13. is-haka masoud

    sound great. happy to hear that.salute jigga

  14. Am very happy for the program n for Charles to reach out for our young ballers here in Tanzania.Kaka Hongera sana keep up the great work

  15. Coach B. Mgunda

    Keep living your dream and we are looking forward to make it happen to our new generation of ballers in Tanzania!

  16. Neemakim

    Congrats my dear that’s a great step forward
    I’m wishing you best of luck on your efforts for the youth on both continents.

  17. Leah Mtali

    Good job bro. All the best and keep it up.

  18. Dennis Wilson Mukidi

    Example to follow.. salute Liana Charles Mbaga u inspired many in the hood here in Ilala flats and now u far from the hood and does the same . Blessings bro

  19. Adam Jumbe

    Good job , brother Charles.dont stop doing what you love.Sky is the limit and you know that you keep on
    Just keep on pressin’ on……

  20. Nasir

    Good job Charles,keep it up

  21. Erick

    It’s a very incredible idea. We have been waiting for this kind opportunity to see our young guys unite the basketball.

  22. Haika Mbaga

    They are very few people in this world like you who gives there’re life to others , you are amoung of them be blessed . God bless Ameer and God bless all who are co-operate with You. Amen . Haika Mbaga and Matthew Mwaimu.

  23. Rose

    Well, I know this is just the beginning but
    your hustle, hard work, volunteer spirit to support other it’s your purpose in life,One day someone will say I want to be like charles Mbaga, And that person will be me…..as your sister I watch you,I listen you times and times about your dream and I can’t wait to see this project in hometown and the impact to Tz kid and youth in Tanzania.We are together when it’s comes to create youth leaders and create young generation,Keep it up and good luck.Rx✊🏽

  24. Jojo

    Charles, good job.
    May God bless America and Tanzania.
    Keep it up.🙏🙏

  25. Great job Charles, all the best and i hope all the the luck for your project. God bless you all.

  26. Mnasi

    That ‘ll be a bigger step in pushing forward development of ball, mostly in TZ..may lord lead you on this program..we behind you🙏

  27. Charles Mbaga

    Omg thanks you guys for your real love. This is because we love sports i would like saying that “ I’ ll keep on promise to you everything will be alright as long we are alive and I’ll make sure to help our society because we are coming from different cultures and behaviors. I hope youths from both sides they will love to shake hands together on days of Event. We know sports bring love, employment, good health and prevention of disease and using of drugs which destroy our society and allow to have peaceful in our mind. I would like to take this an opportunity to thanks this Media Oakland north net News Paper Miss Vianey Alderete, Jamtown Management manager my brother Mr Sam Moses Who wants to working with us to become together on Basketball camp 2018 at Jamtown Gym third thanks goes to Tanzania Basketball Federation President Mr Phares Magesa as our leader from Tanzania to come together with us here in Bay Area California he did a good interview he also keep on promise make sure everything is going perfect and lastly specials thanks Goes to my Brother Mr Ameer Aziz Organizer, Donnie Ray Cameraman Boys & Girls Club Director Ozzo And International Community Schools, African Community and Tanzania community. Thanks God blessing American , African and Tanzania.

  28. I do acrobatics, magic and dancing, culture and hip hop also I have a group and we grow under Charles Mbaga . First time we find someone who can help us to grow up more than.
    But I thanks Charles Mbaga because
    Charles he need to start new program with us to introduce a African, acrobatics and dancing culture in USA And this is good Ideas to help young people to grow up and make the dreams cames true.
    We appreciate and I know this program I will be successful. Because this is not first time Mr Charles help more people

  29. Charles Mbaga

    Peter thank you so much bro I’m happy to see your taking talent it’s a big passion of your life and remind me 😂😂😂 we are ready to surprise people in United States about your talents. I have in mostly place Beverly Hills , Hollywood and San Francisco big city I saw people doing the same what your doing but you guys your so much talented…the fact in California especially Hollywood in Los Angeles it’s a big center for the musician, actors and cultural industry where I met with big procedures cameranman who like to help people in musics, arts and culture. On behalf of our ministry of Sports Culture and youth development this we are considering one of a part of entertainment like other thing so let’s keep on sports first and next step we will focus on other carriers. Thank you so much for mention my name as party of your life to me. I wish you all the best together with your group. May God bless and will open your doors. One🇹🇿🇺🇸👌

  30. Charles Mbaga

    Peter thank you so much bro I’m so happy to see your taking talent it’s a big passion of your life and remind me 😂😂😂 we are ready to surprise people in United States about your talents. I have been in mostly good place Hermosa beach Redondo Beach, Santa Monica , Beverly Hills , Hollywood Oakland and San Francisco big city I saw people doing the same thing what your doing but you guys your so much talented…the fact in California especially Hollywood in Los Angeles it’s a big center for the musician, actors and cultural industry where I met with big producers, cameranman who like to help people in musics, arts and culture. On behalf of our ministry of Sports Culture and youth development this we are considering one of a part of entertainment like other thing so let’s keep on sports first and next step we will focus on other carriers. Thank you so much for mention my name as party of your life to me. I wish you all the best together with your group. May God bless and will open your doors. One🇹🇿🇺🇸👌

  31. Andrew A Mmbaga

    To be honestly,I know this sport had been your tremendous passion,and focus on empower the kids and youth.By building their mentality and physicality…But as your family and more importantly as your bloody bro.we prays for your projects and May God gives strengthen your health and hearts to support this sport as ambassador

  32. Aluta

    Keep doing what you are doing Mtoto wa Ilala Charles

  33. CollyMore

    Mwana mwana, what you are doing is so great. This is an endevour which will have an intercontinental impact to young generation, and it will be a stepping stone to more great things to come. Am happy for you man, knowing that you are doing this from the heart. Serving others is what we are here for in this planet mwana, but it is a calling only few of you can pursue. So keep up the good work mwana, stay focused, continue to be a good ambassador, and dont forget to maintain that laughter and happy face along the way. GOD Bless you, and this mission..

  34. DULA MAC

    Mr. Charles Mbaga, You are an inspiration and one of the most humble person I met. You never give up on your goals and desires no matter what people say or do. All the sacrifices you have made will not go in vain as this is one of your achievements and many more to come. Keep it going bruv “all the way up”

  35. Charles

    Dulla Makuberi man! Thanks for nice message to me we hope everything is going alright. We are in process now to make good things happened. I believe through my struggling if we put everything with God first and keep things together and get good connection & then It’s like boom and those parts that are exposed will help our generations.

  36. Jordan k

    In GOD we trust good job bro keep it up .you should involve your little bro kody in it !

  37. Charles Mbaga

    CollyMore thank you so much bro we have been playing basketball in a league together and now we have commitment of helping youth as ambassador I do believe to make a good things for our generation both side and this will be an opportunity for the them to become a good player from local to international level.

  38. Charles Mbaga

    Thank you Aluta Warioba nashukuru Baller. Tupo pamoja Raster

Post a comment

Oakland North welcomes comments from our readers, but we ask users to keep all discussion civil and on-topic. Comments post automatically without review from our staff, but we reserve the right to delete material that is libelous, a personal attack, or spam. We request that commenters consistently use the same login name. Comments from the same user posted under multiple aliases may be deleted. Oakland North assumes no liability for comments posted to the site and no endorsement is implied; commenters are solely responsible for their own content. For concerns about comments posted to this site, please contact us at staff@oaklandnorth.net.

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *

Connect with Facebook

*
*