Editor: Brenda Mwaniki
By Ariel Okall
He has done it all. The tall, dark and charismatic leader, Amin Mkosa, is a decorated baller in Tanzania. He plays his game with flamboyance, great energy, and a swag that is highly captivating. He is a mean competitor and if you get the opportunity to watch him play, you will understand just why. He plays to win; losing is not part of his DNA. He started his career at a tender age in Kigoma, in the Northwestern part of Tanzania. His love for sports was influenced by his family members; his brother who played football and his uncle Mahmud Kabeza who was a renowned footballer. His dreams of succeeding in football didn’t go as planned. The game didn’t make his blood boil so Mkosa switched to volleyball and later handball but neither gave him any satisfaction. Then he came face to face with the game of basketball and it was love at first dribble. Mkosa found a home in 2013, when he joined Don Bosco Youth Center and has since grown to be one of Tanzania’s finest.
In Tanzania, he has had quite the career with six championships, four MVPs, and three best defender awards. Having featured for over 6 teams both in and out of Tanzania, Amini Mkosa is vast in experience. He has recently made his first pro move to Malawi, to join his new club, Brave Hearts, who scouted him from a high school in Kampala, Uganda. We sat down with the champ in an exclusive and he had this to say:
1: When did you start playing basketball and what was your first contact with the game of basketball?
I started playing basketball in 2012, but I began to play serious basketball in 2013 when I joined Don Bosco, that was my first contact with basketball.
2: Have you played other sports or basketball was your first?
Yes I have. I played football, volleyball and handball trying to find my purpose and in basketball I found it. I have found so many opportunities in basketball and it has been the main reason I play it.
3: You have played for six teams, which team did you achieve most success with?
I have played for six teams, Kasulu Heats, Don Rua, Young Stars, Savio, Betway Power, Kurasini Heats and now Brave Hearts. Every team I played in has a success story. In Savio, I won six championships and 2 championships with Kurasini Heats. The most important thing is the many connections I got from these teams and the experience.
4: What keeps you going and pushes you towards your goals. Whats your motivation and what’s your secret?
I have always believed no one is better than me. I can be anything I want to be if i put my mind into it. Anything is possible. I’m a winner and I’m always up and ready for new challenges. My secret is to work smart and am always working on my weaknesses and sharpening my strengths.
6: You signed a new contract in Malawi, please shed some light on that?
Yes, I am now in Malawi. I joined Brave Hearts, a team from Lilongwe. They scouted me whilst in highschool back in Kampala.
7: Do you think this move will open doors to more Tanzanian athletes?
Yes, this move to Malawi will definitely open doors to more players. If I play well here, other teams will start sourcing for Tanzanian players. This opportunity is key to the growth and development of Tanzania’s basketball.
8: How were you received in Malawi and what are the expectations moving forward?
I was received well, thank God. Everything is going on well here. I hope to perform well in my new team. Basketball fans in Malawi have huge expectations and I believe by God’s grace, I will be able to achieve my dream and leave a mark here.
9: How many championships do you have ?
Excluding my high school trophies and tournament trophies, I have six Championships, 4 MVPs and three best defender awards. I’m championship material.
10: What should Tanzania do to improve the state of the game and the level of competition?
Honestly speaking, we have a long way to go but we can get there faster if we put in place a good plan and good infrastructure for basketball. If we can get good administrators and good leaders who are willing to work, leaders who know and understand the value of basketball, not just politicians hiding behind basketball, we can really go far. We have all the talent and the talent is dying. As of now, we can only talk about our neighbors Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. Don’t forget we started a good system of basketball but we killed it ourselves.
11: You have been a part of the Tanzanian National Team, what needs to be done to ensure the National team gets to the continental stage?
We need to put in place a good system that works for our National team, from ground up. From the younger teams all the way to the senior team. We also need ro set up camps and find good sponsors. There has to be a difference between being in a club and the National team. At the moment players are not motivated to play for the National team because of the poor preparation and lack of motivation.
12: What are your future expectations?
I have a long way to go, my dream is to play high level basketball professionally. I want to make history and be remembered for something and to make family and my community proud. If I can be a motivation to others that will be the ultimate goal.
13: Talk to all Amini Mkosa fans out there, what do you want to tell them?
My fans should expect good basketball from me, and possibly another championship. I’m sure that will be something to celebrate.
14: You are a role model, you have little kids who look up to you and young players that look at you as their hero, do you have any advice for them?
The first thing’s first, to maintain proper discipline on and off the court. This is the great secret of success.
Secondly, they should be aware of what they want in this game and why they are playing basketball.
Third, we must tell these young kids the truth. In Africa, basketball is a game that can give you success but it can also give you education. Embrace it go to school and work hard you will see the fruits of basketball. There are no shortcuts on this.
Finally I would urge them to be flexible. The game changes every so often. They must be ready to adapt to new things, learn and be good listeners. Listen to the coaches and the veterans. This is the only way that you can make strides in the game.
As he embarks on his new adventure in Lilongwe, Malawi, with his new team, a lot is expected of him. From Th3 Doctor’s report we wish this young man all the very best. To more championships.