AFED’S DOWN THE MEMORY LANE

THE COMMUNITY SPORTS LEGENDS (Part 3)

MOHAMED NATHOO

If the communal services of the grandfather, Ali Nathoo, remain unparalleled in the history of Zanzibar, the contributions of the grandson, Mohamed Nathoo, remains unequalled in the history of Union Sports Club (USC). The day in 1973, when he lifted Upanga Sports Club dependable baller Pranlal Divecha for a six clinching Union the league championship after a lapse of 19 years, Mohamed has proceeded all along the decade carrying Union’s flag aloft amidst rough passages and critical moments.
 
Born on 11th February, 1946 in Zanzibar, Mohamed is a well built athlete and a pleasant personality. His attracts high respect from his contemporaries, and cricket fans.

Mohammed’s cricket career goes back to his school days in Zanzibar when h played for ESM in 1958 and represented the Ithnasheries in 1960. He joined USC in 1968 and has been a regular member of the Tanzania National team since 1972. He also captained the National team and had the honor of regaining the quadrangular trophy which had eluded Tanzania for 16 years.

Mohamed has prevailed over the local cricket scene for the past two decades. He is a dependable cricketer who adds aesthetic values and delight to lovers of the game. He has registered more than 500 runs almost every season and records a half century every now and then. However it is not the runs he scores that form the subject of appreciation but the spirits and style with which he makes them.

Mohamed’s footwork commands fluent strokes. His front movement with his shuffling of the bat is pleasant to watch. He is equally at ease against both the seamers and the spinners. He was the very first recipient of the “Best Batsman” award on its introduction by DCA in 1974.

Mohamed played big innings umpteen times but the sad note of his remarkable career has been a century that has always eluded him. He has reached the nineties on several instances but the nearest he reached toward a century was 99 when he was unfortunately run out.

Mohamed scored 70 invaluable runs against minor countries. Wickets had been tumbling and the score read 26 for 5 when Mohamed and Bashir Tejani came together exhibiting brilliant cricket and sharing a partnership of 117 which gave some respectability to the score.

Concentration is one of Mohamed’s biggest virtues. In the 1976 quadrangular he batted against Zambia for 4 hours 10 minutes scoring 93 runs. He times his innings as the situation demands.

When a faster scoring rate is required run’s flow from his bat as evidenced when he had scored 55 runs off 27 deliveries including 2 sixes and 6 boundaries against a top profile team of Kinondoni Club, 18 runs off one over from Tanzania’s leading fast bowler Alnasir Hasham and four consecutive boundaries off Fazal, Tanzania’s off spinner.

Volleyball was another sport where Mohammed has excelled.

SHAKIR SHERALLI

Shakir Sheralli owed his rich basic gifts of cricket to his father, Raza Sherali, and the incomparable grandfather, Sherali Meghji, famously known as Sherali Ndege who played cricket in Zanzibar when cricket was at its peak of the games played in the spice Island of Zanzibar.

Though Shakir may not command the proves of his grandfather, the grandeur and innate nobility are encapsulated in the strokes he plays. The affixation ‘ndimu’ to his name links. ‘Shakir Ndimu’ so much with the ‘Sherali Ndege.’
 
Born on the 25th of July, 1955 in Zanzibar, Shakir is affable, carefree and the most popular amongst the Union Sports Club lots. Union supporters love him for his daring feasts and aggressive display. Ever since his emergence with USC in 1972, spectator interest has been given a new issue.

In physique his structure may reflect fragility but his desire to hit the ball far is met by method different from others. The grace of his batting is not merely show, a flourish added to please the eye of the spectator. The strokes are wristy.  The follow through is high and free as by such means maximum force is applied to the ball with the minimum strength.

To note a few of his majestic parades of batting display during his rich harvest of runs are his innings of 95 against Upanga Sports Club in 1981 and 51 scored off some 8 overs against Coast Gymkhana in 1982. His captain’s knock of 89 against Dar Brotherhood in 1981 remains one of his finest innings. That innings contained 2 sixes struck on the off which were peculiar, there was something unusual about them. Approaching to such fineness rarely gets witnessed.

Shakir was one of the finest players of fast bowling and the most clinical dispatcher of a delivery. His best shot has to be off the front through the covers. His cover drive was dazzling with the motion off the ball accelerating as it speeds towards the boundary. The Union supporters rejoice in wonderment at his artistry and implied in their spontaneous prose that in such innings has no peer.

In the recently concluded ‘Quadrangular’ Tournament Tanzanians were in all sorts of trouble against Ugandans as 5 wickets fell in quick succession. It seemed as if God has showered his bliss on the Ugandans with ‘Marshall’ in the form of Masoke who seemed unplayable.

The conspicuous aspect of Shakir’s cricket is his fielding with is par excellent. Irrespective of his position in the field his safe pair of hands couples with acute sharpness, vigilance and judgment saves his team a number of runs and avails the bowler his share of wickets.
 
Extracted from:  Sports Festival Souvenir Book of December 1984
 
They are the Sportsmen who have made our community proud in the sports arena for more than two decades. Our young and upcoming sportsmen should emulate their zeal, accomplishment and total commitment to the Club. We pray and wish them a long, healthy and successful life – Ameen.
 
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3rd January 2017 (4th Rabiul Aakhar 1438 AH)

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