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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

Stars have long way to go

4th March 2012
Taifa Stars coach Jan Poulsen

On Wednesday, at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, the national soccer team, Taifa Stars, took on Mozambique (the Mambas) in an all-important first leg of an African Nations Cup qualifier.

Granted, although the tie finished in a sharing of the spoils, Taifa Stars produced an eye-catching display which thrilled the partisan home crowd.

Tellingly though, Stars squandered a hatful of chances, which might prove costly in the second leg in a fortnight.

In the wider context, one cannot help but feel a sense of utter despair over the fact that our deadliest marksmen still miss many chances to score priceless goals.

This profligacy has seen us shoot ourselves massively in the foot time and again in the past.

Depressingly though, the problems in our football arena go deeper than that.

According to the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) technical director, Sunday Kayuni, football clubs in the country give short shrift to youth football, which is arguably the most important building block for any country’s future success.

In comments made earlier this week, which revealed the depth of his frustration, Kayuni went on to say that premier league clubs have shown a distinct lack of interest in recruiting youth players, some of whom were part of the youth team that won Copa Coca-Cola in Brazil two years ago.

This is disturbing indeed as in any other country, youth players of such rarefied quality would have likely sparked a bidding war for their services.

Kayuni’s remarks also sadly reveal that local clubs have not yet made that seismic shift in our football culture to emphasize the importance of developing youth football.

It seems then that although we have tried our damnedest to change our hitherto negative mindset about youth football development, we still have enormous ground to cover.

Returning to the original theme of this discussion, it is certain that all wananchi will be keeping their fingers crossed for Stars to win the return leg against The Mambas.

Having said this though, there are serious deep-rooted problems on our football scene which need to be addressed sooner rather than later.

Lloyd Elipokea

[email protected]

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