Ali Saleh Kiba, the Tanzanian singer known by his stage name Ali Kiba has become the first musician in East Africa to play in a national league after making his debut for Tanzanian Premier League side, Coastal Union, over the weekend.
Ali Kiba is best known across Africa for an endorsement deal with Sony Music resulting in collaborating with world renowned RnB star, R Kelly, on the One8 project in 2010, along with seven of Africa’s top music acts at the time.
Coastal Union, who sit in a respectable 6th place in the Tanzanian top tier signed the popular artiste to a one-year deal in July 2018. But after missing 15 competitive club games, the star impressed, albeit briefly, with a midfield master class on his full debut.
The 32-year old’s performance could not however inspire a win as Mbeya City held Union to a home draw at the Mkwakwani stadium. Still, he played a big part in the exchanges after his piledrive forced the corner which led to the game’s opening goal after just 6 minutes.
The 8-time Tanzanian Music Awards winner and bongo flava star arrived unorthodoxly to the game to much fanfare in a chauffeur-driven silk Mercedes Benz although his club mates had all turned up on the team coach. But he will not face a disciplinary punishment from the club whom he represents both as an ambassador and sponsor through his MOFAYA energy drink.
Yet it was he who would first run out of gas before duly being substituted just after the hour. Neither team could find the winner after Mbeya City’s second half equalizer, leaving both teams on 23 points and trailing league leaders Young Africans by 18 points.
Ali Kiba had three adorable children with three different women before marrying beautiful Amina Khalef in April this year but neither wife nor children turned up to witness King Kiba imitate One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson by making the historic transition from music to competitive soccer.