Hardly two weeks after his arrival, the Tanzania national under 20 football coach Jacob Michelsen looks skeptical of the team’s prowess against other African sides.
In an exclusive interview, the coach has revelations that it will be a tall order for his boys to make an impact and turn tables against other African sides that are well established in youth football development.
The coach said it will be tough for his team to compete on equal terms with the likes of Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, South Africa to mention a few.
The Dane has already watched more than 20 Copa Coca-Cola and UMISETA games while scouting talents.
The coach said Tanzania has a long way to go in youth football development, attributing this to many years which youth football development has been ignored.
He said from what he has seen within the short spell of his stay, Tanzania has abundance of talented young players but need to train well at sports academies.
He made a call to sports authorities to invest more in youth football so that the country can produce players who can compete at par with teams from countries that are well established in youth football development.
The coach said all African countries that sparkle in football have a strong base of grassroots promotion which Tanzania lacks.
He thanked the Tanzania Football Federation, TFF, for having a youth football plan.
The U-20 team, Ngorongoro Heroes, is expecting to meet Nigeria in the qualifiers of African championship on July 29.
“For the past two weeks I have watched teenage football games and players looks to be promising enough to form a formidable squad,” he said.
However, the coach has been shocked after learning that the players are not groomed in soccer academies while banking heavily on individual skills.
Besides scouting young players, the coach also said his current emphasis is to make them love football and understand his playing philosophy.
He cautioned fans that forming a strong squad is not an overnight success as they need to be patient while he directs efforts to achieve the target and eventually n silverwares.
“Currently the concentration is not on winning tournaments but developing players and I believe that they will pick up. For sure the youth team will be a strong foundation for the senior national team,” he said.
He also underscored the need to tap players from top flight sides to join his squad hoping them to inspire teammates through their experience.
Notable teenagers who feature in Mainland premiership include Yanga’s new sign up Frank Domayo, Coastal Union’s Rashid Mandawa and Hassan Dilunga from Ruvu Shooting Stars.