Akber Gulamhussein (Fondly known as Aku)
Once in Zanzibar in 1952 Ithnasheri Gymkhana ‘A’ lost to Arabs in a cricket game in which a young lad was left out from team ‘A’ and made to play for team ‘B’. The young lad took shelter under a tree and wept profusely.

Ironically the same Arabs side lost their next game against the Ithnasheri Gymkhana team ‘B’ side and were bowled out cheaply by that lad who took 8 wickets. The lad was Akber Gulamhussein.

Born on 19th November, 1933 in Zanzibar, Akber played cricket accidentally in 1949 when one of the players dropped out of the ‘ESM’ side at the last minute and Akber had to be included to fill in the gap. He scored 32 runs and never looked back since then.

Akber remained one of Zanzibar’s top most all rounder representing the Zanzibar combine side from 1956 to 1963. He used to open the bowling attack and had the finest bowling style, a perfect model for cricket aspirants. He captained Ithnasheries from 1959 to 1961 during which period the KJ cup was won consecutively. He scored 87 in a partnership of 140 with Baker Tejani against the “Arabs” in 1959. One of his best bowling performances was when he took 7-21 to skittle the Mombasa Jaffery for mere 40.

Akber’s most regrettable moments occurred in the game against Pakistan when the great Hanif was dropped twice of his bowling. Akber was also a fine volleyball player. Incidentally he remained the Zanzibar Ithnasheri Gymkhana’s last President.
Baker Tejani

Born in April 1935, Baker Tejani was one of the Zanzibar’s top most sportsmen. He was renowned for his cool temperament and sportive mannerism. It was cricket which gained him immense popularity. After starting playing for government secondary school in 1952 he became Ithnasheries major batsman and prolific run scorer from 1955 to 1963 during which period he almost represented Zanzibar XI. His highest score was 95 against the Arabs.
However it was the game of tennis at which he excelled. He started participating in tournaments from 1956 onwards and was seeded No. 1 in 1965, he won both singles and doubles. He remained active with the game but did not compete in the tournaments.

Baker was also a very neat volleyball player who besides playing for his school and Ithnasheris also got selected for Zanzibar combine.

Another sports to have earned him laurel was badminton. He remained Zanzibar’s champion from 1958 to 1960 and won both the singles and the doubles.

Bashir Nasser

Born in 1939 in Zanzibar, Bashir Nasser shall always be remembered as a boy with a golden arm for having bowled the great Hanif Mohamed of Pakistan. He also bowled another star cricketer, Imtiaz Ahmed and claimed the wicket of Wallis Mathias. Imagine on that instant against Pakistan in 1956 he bowled for Zanzibar almost 50 consecutive overs!

Bashir was a ‘terrific’ off spinner and overall a great all rounder who used to be the architect of Ithnasheries numerous victories. His slip fielding was a joy to watch and his batting highly relied upon.

Once, Ithnasheris scored 119 against strong ‘Hindus’ side who were bowled out for a meager score of 29 with Bashir claiming the major share of wickets. When it was the turn of Ithnasheris to bat, again Bashir opened the innings and struck consecutive boundaries off the first five deliveries. Gajendra who was Hindus’ captain and wicket keeper could not bear it, he uprooted the stumps and gave away the game to Ithnasheris.

Bashir was also a very fine volleyball player.

Extracted from:  Sports Festival Souvenir Book of December 1984

They were the heroes who made our community proud in the sports arena for many decades whilst on the field and off the field they were professionals, exemplary and pleasant sportsmen. Our young and upcoming sportsmen should emulate them.   Please recite Sura-e-Fateha for the above mentioned sports heroes for the maghferat of their souls, and for all the Marhumeens.


16th December 2016 (16th Rabiul Awwal 1438 AH)

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