Zulfikar Cup started in 2007 to coincide with Arusha Jamaats 50 year sports celebration. The first event had 28 entrants, 14 from Kenya, 14 from Tanzania. The Ryder Cup format was chosen and deemed to be a fair competition between Kenya and Tanzania. The first day saw 4 ball better ball in the morning session and greensome in the afternoon. The second day saw individual match play. Each match on day 1 and 2 accounting for 1 point towards total for each team; The Tanzania team won the inaugural event. Having tasted the fruits, the following year, the event was held in Kenya, with a participation of 36 players, Kenya won. In the following 2 years, number of participants grew as the community in Kenya and Tanzania started taking up golf on consistent basis and with “foreigners”, residents of UAE, UK, and North America underpinning their birth rights to participate, made it more attractive.
In 2010, the number of participants had reached 58, meaning within 5 years, more than double the participants. During these 2 years, the team points score was exactly equal coming down to the last match each year whereby one year, Kenya required a win to tie, whilst the other year Tanzania requiring a win to tie. 2011 saw another increase in participation to 62 players whilst the score may not show it, the tournament was closely fought Tanzania won the singles day handsomely and starting a mini dynasty. Tanzania again won in 2012 with a tournament participation of 72 players. The Kenyans have vowed to “put the matter in order” in 2013 – with a response from the Tanzanians, never mind – “bring it on!”
The number of participants in 2013 has swelled to a record high of 114. It is very pleasing to note that the juniors participation has swelled too from 8 to 18. Due to this sizeable number of participants, the organizers are prompted to stage a subsidiary tournament solely for the juniors that will take place at the same time and at the same venue as the seniors. Could the increase from 72 to 114 be solely because of the venue; the Pristine VIPINGO Golf Club in Mombasa? Perhaps, the game of Golf gaining popularity in our community and the tournament organizers are constantly improving the standard with the solid support and encouragement of the sponsors is a significant contribution. Only time will tell, however suffice it to say – this annual event is now solidly engraved in the diaries of Tanzanian/Kenyan Golfers of all ages.
The name of the tournament was inspired following the tragic and premature death of the then Chairman of the Africa Federation Marhoom Zulfikarali Khimji in 2004. Some of the remarkable qualities of the great and humble man which have transcended into the memory and establishment of the Zulfikar Cup; Passion, competitiveness, oneness of the community and the concept that today we must strive to be better than yesterday.
Let us remember Marhoom Zulfikarali Khimji and all Marhumeens with Sura-e-Fateha.
Sports Council of the Africa Federation