Olympic preps should not be sidelined    

12Apr 2019
The Guardian
Olympic preps should not be sidelined    

DURING the last few weeks it has admittedly felt as if we were engaged in a no-holds-barred cup final seemingly every weekend.

Athletes battle it out in this year’s National Open Championship in Arusha.

Indeed, apart from Simba’s sublime labors which saw the Msimbazi Reds successfully progress to the quarterfinals of the pre-eminent CAF Champions League, there was also the small matter of the Taifa Stars qualifying for this year’s AFCON finals, which represents merely the second time in our history that our country will be part of the assemblage of teams primed to jockey for top honors at Africa’s answerto the World Cup finals, the always ferociously contested African Cup of Nations, dubbed the AFCON Finals.Considering all this in mind, few could dispute the characterization of these last few weeks as a pretty monumental span of time in which we all seemed to be uncomfortably on tenterhooks throughout.And, by the look of things, Simba’s barren sharing of the spoils with the mighty TP Mazembe last Saturday coupled with the rapidly approaching AFCON U-17 Finals mean that our days of seeminglyceaseless edge-of-the-seat, nail-biting excitement may take a little while longer before they fully run their course.

At this critical juncture, I must own up to the fact that I’m pleased as punch to be fortunate enough to witness Tanzanian football clubs, the Serengeti Boys and the Taifa Stars as well register one historicfirst after another as if the sporting gods had decreed that 2019 would be a period of time during which the hitherto badly dented reputation of Tanzanian football would be repaired and undergo eye-opening improvement.However, amidst the feverish excitement, the thrill of victory and the agonizing possibility of being ensnared by the jaws of defeat yet somehow pulling off a close-shave escape of these past couple ofweeks, there has been one major concern which has increasingly pushed itself to the forefront of my consciousness.And, that concern is: with the Tokyo 2020 Games due to take place only next year, are we really prepared, performance-wise, that is, to make an excellent impact on the grandest sporting platform of them all, the quadrennial Olympic Games?Yes, yes, Dear Reader, I may be a tad guilty of sounding like the tell-tale, disgusting sounds of those faulty Long Play (LP) records, which were very much in vogue in yesteryears.After all, it has been my tendency to set the alarm bells ringing about our country’s seemingly snail-like pace of preparations for massive sporting events, like the Olympics, for one, and I would bethe first to concede that the amplitude of my warnings distinctly rise a significant amount of decibels higher the closer that we draw nearer to sporting festivals like the Olympics and the AFCON Finals.Without any question, I readily accept culpability for all of the afore-said errors.Nevertheless, the reasons why I’m constantly advocating for our country to undertake intensive preparations for major sporting events all revolve around one core belief of mine.This belief, which is central to how I view our domestic sports scene, is that our country could excel more frequently in global sports if we were able to unlock our long-running ‘Riddle of Poor Preparations’ for international sporting contests of prominence.