While the Tanzanian contingent for the All Africa Games to be staged in Maputo board a flight today, the Tanzania Swimming Association (TSA) has accused the Government for denying them the opportunity to compete.
TSA technical director Marcellino Ngalinoma expressed his disappointment for the trashed opportunity despite efforts to seek permission early on.
He said the Tanzania swimmers would have gained more exposure and experience and improve awareness in the country.
Ngalinoma said TSA took trouble to raise funds for the swimmers but the team has been shocked by the Government’s decision to throw overboard all the efforts yet at eleventh hour.
He said his association has managed to raise $2,400 for its five swimmers and one coach but the Government virtually ‘slapped them on their face’.
The TSA director said when he visited the ministry for Information, Sports, and Youth and Culture offices on Monday to ask if the permission for his swimmers to compete at the Games is ready; he was verbally told by the Director of Sports, Leonard Thadeo, that the Government can not give them permission.
He said before asking for the permission from the ministry they (TSA) communicated with the Tanzania Olympic Committee (TOC) that endorsed their letter to contact the ministry for the permission
Ngalinoma said he protested by telling the minister that the team is made up of swimmers from a blend of poor and rich families.
“We have five swimmers, three from Mainland while the remaining two and the coach is from Zanzibar,” he said.
He named the swimmers and the coach who were selected from Zanzibar as Omari Abudala and Ali Bamba while from Mainland are Marium Foum, Gouri Kotecha and Ammaar Ghadiyali under coach Mwalimu Mwalimu.
“We spend a good time soliciting for money and good swimmers who can bring medals to the country but very unfortunately the Government has refused us permission to travel,” he said.
Ngalinoma said the Government decision has severely affected swimmers and sponsors.
The swimmers lined up for Maputo had asked for school leave so as to train and then compete at the Games, only to be shocked of the ministry’s response.
He said some parents have written to the ministry to express their disappointment over the decision highly unexpected.
Commenting on the TSA woes, Thadeo said he can not say anything as TSA has not officially written their complaints to his office.
Asked if it is true that TSA asked the permission from his office, Thadeo declined to respond and only said: “Tell them to write a letter to my office and I will respond.”