Last week when the rains came and went in Morogoro, Tanzania, the wet basketball court didn’t stop the Zanzibar Basketball League from putting in some work. If the first season of Wooter Africa’s Zanzibar Basketball League was about getting the league up and running and letting the players showcase their game on the court, “Season 2” is certainly about getting better together and growing the game of basketball in East Africa.
This has been the aim of Hamid Suleiman Ahmad, the young Commissioner of the Zanzibar Basketball League who launched the league two years ago at 24-years old and remains focused on providing a chance for basketball players and teams to step on the court in Tanzania and Zanzibar and be part of something bigger.
“We are determined and confident,” said Hamid when asked about the start of the second season of Wooter Africa and the Zanzibar Basketball League.
“After our first year of the league, we discovered a lot of areas of success about getting players and teams involved to make the season a win for everyone.”
Last year the Zanzibar Basketball League featured a 12-team grass roots league (complete with a youth league) and tournament with players sporting customized uniforms and jerseys created by Wooter Apparel. But that was only part of the story at play in year one. It was also a season that chalked-up victories off of the court too with the launch of Wooter Africa on Instagram and the chance to draw closer to the game going on in Tanzania and Zanzibar.
Wooter Apparel recently announced its company pledge to help give back to sports programs around the world ($2.5 million in sponsorships and donations over the next 3 years), including working with organizations like the Zanzibar Basketball League as its official apparel sponsor. It’s part of a larger give back program that includes a long list of basketball organizations and leagues from the Brunson League (Baltimore), Ballin 4 Peace (New York), BRICK League (Ohio) and Ballin 4 Lupus (Atlanta) among others.
Wooter Africa holds a very close place in the heart of Wooter Apparel. It's one thing to produce individual orders of jerseys and uniforms, but outfitting an entire 12-team league in Zanzibar, Tanzania, and Africa is a story that runs much deeper.
Back in May 2017, 24-year old Hamid Suleiman Ahmad contacted Wooter through social media to share his humble and heartfelt tale about growing up in Africa and the desire to outfit a basketball team and league made up of his friends and a uniform he'd drawn-up. Hamid created and designed everything -- from the blue and white uniform for his team, to the African logo that graced the front of the jersey. Wooter handled production and delivery within a two-week period, and within those fourteen days a dream became a reality that reached from Staten Island, New York to East Africa.
“Everyone has a different approach to leadership, but here is mine – respect,” explained Hamid, who continues to urge Tanzanians to promote the game of basketball on a local level in East Africa.
“Respect through building relationships through basketball and the challenges and successes that arise through the game. I’ve learned through these experiences from last season and am humble to continue to grow the basketball league in Zanzibar and Tanzania.”
With Season 2 of Wooter Africa underway, Hamid Suleiman Ahmad and the Zanzibar Basketball are back in action with games played weekly and basketball growing daily in Tanzania and Zanzibar thanks to the league also partnering with professional basketball player and trainer, Joshua Cuylar of JC Sports Training.
“We are excited to discover the potential of basketball and this league in Africa,” added Hamid.
“It takes a lot of people to make this a success, from those within Wooter Africa, the coaches, and the players all bringing their ideas and strategies during our first season. My hope is we will grow even more in Season 2.”