The controversy over the Tanzania Football Federation’s proposed constitutional amendments and overdue general election still dominates street talk and makes headlines across the country.
TFF has been the target of most of the blame, particularly as related to the all-important election that would have pitted a number of heavyweights against each other.
Last week’s intervention by the Information, Culture, Youth and Sports ministry has made a difficult situation and even harder nut to crack, and the crisis will very likely escalate unless wisdom prevails or world soccer governing body FIFA chips in as expected.
Whether the outgoing TFF leadership under Leodegar Tenga is wrong or right, the bottom line relates to the speed with which the ministry reacted after indications were that what began differences of opinion involving only a few interested parties was developing into a crisis of monstrous proportions.
The federation was very open and loud about its intention to amend its constitution without following the laid down procedure – of soliciting the blessings of the annual general assembly – and it publicly defended the option.
As this was in progress, the ministry was there and all relevant authorities were aware of the development. This means that both the ministry and the other relevant authorities had all the time in the world to avert what was then still only threatening to become a crisis.
Yes, the ministry has the power to chip in whenever a sports body goes stray, but why did it take as long as it did to react this time around?
Had the issue of constitutional reform being handled properly as enough, the mess we are witnessing at a time when the national soccer team needs to perfect at the 2014 World Cup qualifier series would have been avoided.
You simply don’t allow your kid to fall into a ravine and only then begin looking for firefighters to save his or her life! What, if we may ask, are the National Sports Council and the Registrar of Sports there for if all crises will be resolved this way?
Some of the candidates disqualified have been openly blaming TFF for, in their view, having illegally barred them from contesting.
Personal differences between and among candidates cannot be ignored, as proven integrity is one of the attributes of good leadership, but whatever is done should not tilt the way decisions are made.
Another sticky issue revolves around suggestions that TFF has erred gravely by contravening some of its own rules and regulations – even the constitution! But isn’t the federation too experienced to be caught napping here?
So disgrace or no disgrace, maybe the impending arrival of the FIFA delegation will help us out on this issue.
Shortcomings on the part of TFF, would-be contestants or anyone else should not explain mishandling of the federation’s constitution or the forthcoming election.
Tanzanians value soccer so much that it would be a disaster if the game is left in the hands of people with the least love for it. So, let sanity, maturity and patriotism prevail as we seek to resolve the crisis our soccer is facing – lest the nation becomes the ultimate loser as it would be at FIFA’s mercy.