The just-ended Senior Challenge Cup in the Ugandan capital Kampala exposed the standard of Tanzania’s soccer relative to that of the rest of the East and Central Africa region.
Neither Kilimanjaro Stars nor Zanzibar Heroes managed to reach the final, as both were eliminated at the semi-final stage and the difference between Tanzania’s soccer and Uganda’s was there for all to see.
Winning the silverware for a record 13th time since the inauguration of the tournament in 1973 is a milestone every country would like to bask in.
It’s sad that, despite the various incentive packages extended to Kilimanjaro Stars and the national team (Taifa Stars), Tanzania’s soccer is remains far from impressive or inspiring.
Many Mainland fans were shocked and disappointed with the performance displayed by Kilimanjaro Stars during the 3-0 thrashing by Uganda Cranes crash. What added to the injury and disgrace was that the defeat was the second to the same team within year – only the venue was different!
It was Uganda that whacked a half-baked Kilimanjaro Stars’ 3-1 during last year’s edition of the championship staged in Dar es Salaam.
This time around, Uganda’s comprehensive victory was proof that they had not previously fluked; rather, Kilimanjaro Stars simply flopped.
It’s high time Tanzania Football Federation went back to the basics and admitted that we are in the doldrums if the standard of our soccer is anything to go by. Indeed, the federation needs to work harder if we are to do any better
The 3-0 defeat to Uganda is by far the biggest loss the Tanzania Mainland team has suffered in the tournament in the last ten years.
TFF needs to go back to the drawing board fast as the situation calls for immediate intervention, or success at international stages will for long remain a distant dream.
We need to spend more time and other resources as well as have leaders with greater vision and commitment to soccer if we are to find a breakthrough.
Most players featuring in Kilimanjaro Stars do not originate from soccer academies but have risen from relative obscurity and have attained their current level of play chiefly thanks to personal efforts – that is, without reliable mentors.
Mainland premiership clubs are clear leaders in the East Africa when it comes to the importation of players. Things are bad, with not even one Tanzanian footballer featuring in any of the Ugandan top flight sides.
Instead, the reverse is the case as many players are imported from Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and elsewhere to feature in the Mainland premiership.
This massive importation of players may clubs short-lived benefits, but it is actually killing our own soccer as we fail to give room to Tanzanian talents to grown and sparkle in the premiership.
Ironically, it is often the very same foreign players we pay a fortune to sign for our clubs who ultimately “stab us in the back” when it comes to international tournaments like the Challenge Cup.
When Tanzania won an African Nations Cup berth in 1980, none of our premiership clubs had a foreign player, and this explains the urgency with which TFF ought to address recent developments in our soccer.