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Best of luck, Twiga Stars!

14th January 2012
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Editorial cartoon

Our national women`s soccer team, Twiga Stars, today face their Namibian counterparts in an African Women Championship qualifier encounter away in Windhoek, Namibia.

Twiga Stars left for Namibia on Thursday evening not very comfortably cushioned financially, but we are confident they are mature and experienced enough to put behind them all their pre-departure ordeals and fight to win and advance.

We understand that the team did not prepare adequately for the game, but the ladies have promised not to let the nation down.

 

Chief coach Charles Boniface Mkwasa ‘Master’ declared before jetting out that both players and officials were in high spirits, which should help propel the team into taming Namibia’s Brave Gladiators and thus stand a good chance in the return leg on home soil.  

 

Community Development, Gender and Children deputy minister Ummy Mwalimu saw the team off on behalf of the government, stressing the need for Twiga Stars to do Tanzania proud by winning.

She said the team was indebted to the entire nation and asked the players to play with maximum concentration, commitment and seriousness, with their eyes and minds focused on winning with dignity.

In the 2010 AWC preliminary round, Twiga Stars won 3-1 away to Ethiopia in the first leg before being forced to a 1-1 draw at home. The handsome away results enabled the team to book a ticket for the finals, held in South Africa.

This is the second time for our ladies, who boast a good international record, are featuring in the continental tournament. They did not sparkle the last time, but were among eight finalists out of 23 nations that took part.

While wishing the team all the best, though, we would like to underscore the fact that all Tanzanians are duty-bound to support the team financially and otherwise.

The Tanzania Football Federation says it has had to borrow 10m/- from various sources to facilitate the team travel from South Africa to Namibia, which is surely embarrassing.

The team is in Namibia mainly courtesy of support from Precision Air in the form of air tickets worth 27.8 m/- for part of the return travel - Dar es Salaam/Johannesburg and back. This left the rest of the trip in limbo, that is, until TFF landed the all-important 10m/- loan.

It is also reported that the team was so cash-strapped that it risked going without any pre-match camp training. The National Service intervened by hosting the preparations, thus sparing the ladies further blushes.

If we really want to see Twiga Stars progressing in AWC, we must start preparing for the return-leg match, to be played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam later this month, as well as for other upcoming games.

As a nation, we also need to work on public complaints that we have become obsessed with so-called giants in the Premier Soccer League at the expense of the two national soccer teams as well as most other sports. The trend spells disaster for our future in sports.

 For now, though, we must come together and wish the team all the best in Namibia and thereafter.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN
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