Yes, regions can do with more soccer investments

31Dec 2018
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Yes, regions can do with more soccer investments

TANZANIA Football Federation president Wallace Karia last week appealed to soccer fans in Morogoro Region to invest in the sport and help their region recapture its long-lost glory as one of the most successful ones in the country in the promotion of the sport.

The TFF leader, who had just attended a friendly match in Morogoro municipality pitting Morogoro’s Mawenzi FC against Tanga’s Coastal Union, reminded the youthful soccer fans that the region used to produce hugely talented players.

Indeed, most soccer fans in Morogoro must be familiar with epochal compositions about the region by Mbaraka Mwinshehe Mwaruka, an artiste and performer who was to be reckoned with in the 1970s.

At that specific event, Coastal Union edged Mawenzi FC 2-1, with the encounter being arranged for helping the two teams prepare for their forthcoming duels in different tournaments. Coastal Union is a Mainland Premier League side while Mawenzi FC participates in the First Division League (FDL), with Moro Region’s Mtibwa Sugar the big regional side competing in the Mainland premier league.

With Mawenzi FC the only Morogoro club participating in the current FDL, the TFF leader noted, this points to the need for soccer stakeholders in the region to invest meaningfully in the game. Underlining his community feeling, as he is a regular resident of the region, Karia recalled those good old days and that still the region nurtures good players.

Soccer isn’t that easy to domesticate, like Morogoro producing 70 per cent of current FDL and premier league players as Karia appeared to tell his audience.

Morogoro won the Taifa Cup in 1970 and most of its players shifted to Dar es Salaam, but around 1973, Simba SC rebuilt its team from a Kigoma side which won the Taifa Cup event that very year. Taifa Cup used to be a captivating tournament.

A Coastal Union player who is also a leading performing artiste, Ali Kiba, featured in the match. He praised his side’s opponents, saying they have good players but ought to play friendly matches on a regular basis to gain experience.

That also showed his scope not just as a player but actually as a patron of the Coastal Union side, a role combination that isn’t altogether common anywhere.

Ali Kiba is definitely a young man with special gifts and earnings that dwarf most of the fans the TFF president appeared to be addressing, where the notion of fans ought to have been replaced by stakeholders with more direct involvement in the game.

The fans can at best provide a morale boost to a local side in a competitive encounter, but can’t do much to invest in the game. It is those who are endowed with resources that can do so, and it would be helpful if TFF and ministerial bodies started thinking of ways to elicit interest in the matter from stakeholders in all urban areas.

The feedback will be positive and policy could accommodate it, particularly if the entire TFF leadership demonstrated as much love for the game as the federation’s president has been showing he can do

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