Junior footballers participated in U-9, U-11, U-13, and U-14 categories' events, seeking to give the youngsters platform to display their skills.
Fina Mango, the event's founder and coordinator, presents an insight into the competition and benefits it sets to bring forth.
Q: What is the Dar Youth Cup?
A: The Dar Youth Cup (DarYC) is a premier youth football tournament for both boys and girls aged 7-12, held in Dar es Salaam.
The tournament, organized by One Plus Sports Agency, provides high-quality youth football as well unforgettable fun both on and off the field of play.
The tournament is endorsed by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF).
The DarYC brings friends and families together to support their children to do what they enjoy the most, namely play football.
The tournament also affords the kids an opportunity to compete on a bigger stage, in an organized event with high visibility, therefore allowing them to test the fruits of their efforts in training as well as showcasing both their collective and individual talents.
The event also exposes the players to opportunities for recognition by the wider football community, thus creating new friendships and potential partnerships for all involved.
This event was inaugurated in November 2019, at the Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club football grounds and has already become the most anticipated youth football event in Tanzania.
Due to the well-known pandemic that we experienced, we were not able to host the tournament in 2020 but this year we will be hosting the tournament on the 5th of June at the Gymkhana grounds and we encourage spectators to come to witness the good football expected to be on show.
Q: Why did you decide to organize this tournament?
A: My 10-year-old son inspired me! The first person I shared the idea of organizing a youth football tournament with was him, and his level of excitement told me that I must do this!
I noticed that he and his teammates who love the game of football and who train and play at their school and their football club, that there was a great hunger for more organized competitive football matches and tournaments.
The aim was to fill this gap and provide a platform for youth football players with the same love and insatiable appetite for the game to play in a safe, friendly, fun yet competitive environment.
I also received further encouragement from the Football Federation (TFF) so I proceeded to assemble a team of hard-working, committed, and passionate persons who with little or no money, were ready to support work on, and implement the idea.
I was fortunate that these people were experts with vast and extensive experience in communications, events, as well as the sports management industry who had the same vision, which is to fulfill the wishes and dreams of what I came to find out was not only of my son and his teammates, but hundreds of other children in Dar.
Q: Who can participate in this youth football tournament?
A: On the playing side, we invite any youth football club operating in Tanzania that is registered with the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) or which is registered in another legal form.
We also welcome any primary or secondary schools with a youth football team.
Businesses, associations, or other legally registered organizations that have youth football teams can participate as well.
This is for both boys and girls teams and the players have to be within the prescribed age categories as stated in the rules which means that they have to be under the ages of 9, 11, or 13 on the day of the tournament depending on the category that they are registered for.
Participation and registration details can be found on our social media pages @DARYOUTHCUP
Outside the field of play, family members, parents, guardians teachers, and any football or sports enthusiasts are welcome as well as anyone in the public who wants to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere created through this event. All are welcome and the entrance is free!
Q: When and where will this year's DarYC be held?
A: The second edition of the DarYC will be held on June 5, at the Gymkhana grounds here in Dar es Salaam.
Q: What are the challenges that you have encountered in organizing the DarYC?
A: To organize a successful, first-class event with so many participants has great budgetary demands to meet the high standards that we set for ourselves in terms of the quality of the tournament.
There are quite a few logistical requirements and minimum standards that need to be set that also require certain costs.
Fortunately, we had willing sponsors and partners who believed in us, bought into the idea, and supported us from the beginning.
The primary aim of the tournament is to provide a platform for youth football players and not for profit and fortunately, we have managed to assemble a dedicated team of individuals who share this vision.
We welcome sponsorship in different forms for any dedicated businesses or organizations who are willing and able to support our efforts.
We also face a common challenge across Africa on age cheating. Academies across the country remain to be focusing on winning at any cost.
They stop preparing and allowing the right age young athletes to participate and compete in these types of events because they prefer winning over anything else.
We have decided that our tournament will be the event that provides a stage to the under 13s and that academies need to find, prepare and allow the under thirteens to take part in these big competitions.
It is a long road ahead but so far the message is getting across and we look forward to the day that we don’t have to use so much time in checks and re-checks to ensure the players are of the right age.
We have to give a special mention to TFF for supporting and endorsing the tournament as well as our sponsors, Bwana Sukari from Illovo Sugar, ASAS Diaries, Toyota Tanzania, Kisima Water, and Golden Wheels without whom the event would not be possible.
Q: Do you feel that the DarYC has been a success?
A: So far so good. The 2019 tournament created a competitive atmosphere in a friendly and fun environment. We witnessed healthy football rivalries and friendships created on the day.
Another sign of success is the demand created after the tournament where we were asked to not only host more tournaments with more teams but to also include girls' football which we have done this year.
Other successes witnessed were the great individual and collective talent of many players, and we believe that this did not go unnoticed by all football enthusiasts.
One of the biggest successes we feel was that we managed to bring together players from independent schools, government schools and local youth football clubs to all competitors and to enjoy football on the same platform.
Despite a successful start, we always seek to improve and create even stronger friendships and bonds between the participating teams, the schools, clubs, and of course our partners who supported us from the beginning.
The strengthening of these relationships and partnerships will enable us to produce even better and more successful tournaments in the future. We believe that successful tournaments will provide more opportunities for all the stakeholders involved.
The most visible success from the first tournament perhaps is the formation of the DarYC Academy and now the tournament organizers, with host teams dubbed The Bulls.
We have four categories of the Bulls in U-9, U-11, U-13 boys, and U-13 girls.
They train three times a week and play matches once every week.
Q: How do you feel that the larger community outside of football can benefit or has benefitted from the Dar Youth Cup?
A: Organised youth sport in general but particularly football tournaments such as the Dar Youth Cup that allows the children to play on a bigger stage with high visibility provides valuable lessons to the youth about the importance of preparation, ability, effort, and competition whilst having fun at the same time.
In having fun in a competitive environment the children also learn what it takes to win and how to handle losing and disappointment in the right manner.
These lessons will help them in real-life situations.
The first tournament fostered a great sense of community and gave both players and spectators a feeling of belonging to something more than just football.
The fantastic event involved local sponsors which have created good partnerships. Players had the opportunity to mix with other players from private and public schools as well as
local clubs bringing awareness and a broader perspective of the socio-economic and ethnic differences that may exist but which are bridged by the unity that football provides.
We like to thank all parents for supporting their kids.
It was a great event and gave our kids an opportunity to explore their talents and play in organized football.
We also acknowledge all the clubs and schools for training the young athletes.
Young players need to be able to compete against their fellow players in the same age groups.
Great football was displayed on Saturday, thank you all.
I express special thanks to our sponsors as without them the event would not have been possible, our main sponsors Bwana Sukari and ASAS Dairies for choosing to support the event.
I also appreciate Toyota Tanzania for staying with us two years in a row, Kisima Water for ensuring all the players were hydrated throughout the day, and Clouds Media Group for adding value to the event through their radio and television promotion.