We wholeheartedly congratulate Tanzania Football Federation president Leodegar Tenga for winning a second term as the president of the Council of East and Central Africa Football Association chairman.
But in the same breath, we would like to remind him and the entire TFF and CECAFA secretariats that it is well past high time they seriously embarked on the promotion of soccer for the good of the region.
CECAFA has always been working hard to stage various tournaments in the region but very few of its member countries have made either the Africa Cup of Nations or the World Cup.
Things are completely different with COSAFA, a regional body bringing together southern Africa’s soccer associations that was established just a few years ago. CECAFA ought to take a leaf from this relative toddler, some of whose member countries are regular participants in the biennial Africa Cup of Nations.
CECAFA has been hunting for sponsorship to enable it to stage its annual tournaments, but so far only Sudan has made next year’s continental championship to be co-hosted by Gabon and Equatorial Guinea.
West Africa’s soccer governing body, which has been dormant owing to long-running political instability in the region, looks unfazed. Several of its members have repeatedly qualified for both World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations.
Following his re-election as CECAFA chairman, Tenga should focus on how best to devise strategies that would see some of the regional body’s members qualify for the continental and global tournaments.
Searching for sponsorship to stage tournaments should go in tandem with striving to progress towards lifting the standard of soccer in the region.
CECAFA owes people of the region a massive debt in that for years and years only a few of its members have made qualifier breakthroughs and feature in the big international stages.
It’s our hope and dream to have teams in this region making an impact on continental and global soccer for CECAFA to be effective and responsible.
Tenga should bear in mind that his responsibility is not only limited to staging tournaments in the region but also to see the standard of soccer is gaining tempo to match with that of other parts of the continent, particularly the West and North.
The CECAFA chairman should work beyond borders and inspire other countries in the region apart from his native Tanzania to advance into continental and global soccer supremacy.
Kenya has featured in the Africa Cup of Nations several times since CECAFA was established, but Tanzania and Uganda have a long history of qualifier failures.
Uganda reached the continental championship finals in 1978, losing to Ghana, but has ever since been a no-show – just like Tanzania, which made its lone appearance in 1980.
Soccer fans in the region are still experiencing a nightmare and wonder when the standard would peak enough for teams to win the slots at such international stages to showcase and market talents of our young players.
All the best, Tenga, but please help make the people of CECAFA member states happy soccer lovers.