Boys’ basketball joins together to donate equipment to Tanzania

Addi Bronwell, Sports Writer


The Eagan basketball team has gotten new practice jerseys every year over the past few years and they have had no use for the old ones as they were collecting dust in storage. Instead of tossing them out or giving them to old sports shops, the booster club and the coaching staff found people across the Atlantic Ocean in Tanzania who would appreciate the donations even more. 


When Coach Kevin McKenzie was contacted by his friend and fellow Coach Matt McCollister for donations to Tanzania, he knew he had to join in. Normally old jerseys are sold to fans or donated elsewhere but by donating to foreign countries, they changed the lives of many people. The uniforms and equipment were given to villages where basketball was being introduced or those who were learning were given equipment so they could play properly. They began planning this in the summer of 2020 and had the donations finalized by this fall. 


It took many people to turn this idea into a real thing but it couldn’t have happened without Coach McCollister. Along with coaching South St. Paul boys’ basketball, McCollister is the head coach of the national Tanzania Basketball team. Part of his job is to go to rural villages and put on instructional clinics and raise interest in basketball. “During one of my first trips I asked one of the local coaches what else I could do to help and they said they were always in need of uniforms and balls,” says McCollister. “Since then I have been sure to bring as much equipment as I can when I travel to Tanzania.”


Coach McCollister has made eight trips to Tanzania over the past five years. “It has been so heartwarming to see how many schools have been willing to offer donations.” But he couldn’t have done it alone. McCollister says “Coach McKenzie has been a huge supporter and benefactor from the very beginning. He has been extremely selfless in terms of his time, ideas, and generosity!” Many people had to come together to help others enjoy the great game of basketball.


Eagan was not alone with their donations as Henry Sibley basketball also donated uniforms and apparel. Dick’s Sporting Goods also donated $500 of new merchandise. Donations and equipment were sent to a wheelchair basketball league in Dar es Salaam as well as the top boys’ team in Mwanza, as they are going to use them during the national tournament. Captain Max Robinson of Eagan boys’ basketball says “It’s always a great feeling to be able to help people, but to do it with people who share the love of a sport with me makes it even better.”