Last weekend, the women national soccer team, Twiga Stars, were eliminated from the All Africa Games’ football event after sharing the spoils with Zimbabwe 2-2.
Having been drawn in a difficult group that included the likes of the continental heavyweights South Africa and Ghana, the Twiga Stars drew two group matches and lost one, which effectively brought their courageous campaign to an end.
I described their efforts as brave because yet again, almost for the umpteenth time, the football fraternity and sports stakeholders in general failed the team.
Indeed, in the run-up to the prestigious All Africa Games in Mozambique, the Twiga Stars’ coach Charles Mkwasa bitterly complained time and again about his charges’ lack of preparation for the football event.
This lack of readiness, he warned could spell doom and gloom for the team’s prospects of doing well at the games in a group dubbed the ‘group of death’.
Considering that Twiga Stars recently impressed in a Southern African football championship, it is not at all far-fetched to assert that they could have soared to great heights at the games if they had meticulously prepared for the Pan-African sporting extravaganza.
It is instructive to note that our heroines have already achieved great success in the past, without the proper structures in place to facilitate even greater success.
One fundamental building block for progress in local women’s football, which so far has been sadly dismissed by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) is the setting up of a national women’s football league.
This has proven to be a huge setback for the development and indeed growth of women’s football in the country.
It is also particularly galling as there is evidence to show that the Twiga Stars could one day possibly become an African football power if women’s football ceases to be neglected locally.
Returning to the original theme of this discussion though, it would be perhaps a first step in the right direction to acknowledge that we collectively failed the Twiga Stars in their bid to win medals at the All Africa Games.
Lloyd Elipokea is a sports