TFF new U-15 teams rule exemplary

07Apr 2020
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
TFF new U-15 teams rule exemplary

​​​​​​​IN spite of the deepening gloom stemming from extremely disheartening daily news reports of how the coronavirus disease continues to spread apace around the world, it is still cheering to see that a number of international sports organizations are laying out plans for the-

Youths that are featuring in a junior soccer development program overseen by Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) attend a training session at Karume Stadium in Dar es Salaam recently. PHOTO; CORRESPONDENT JUMANNE JUMA

-eventual resumption of sporting competition in earnest, that is, once the devastatingly costly and ominous threat of COVID-19 has been totally negated.

For example, the eagerly awaited ‘Mother of all grand sporting contests’ the Olympic Games had been initially slated to take place in Japan’s technologically savvy capital, Tokyo, starting from July 24, this year.

However, following the rapidly burgeoning danger which COVID-19 can inflict upon a global populace, the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which is the body charged with running the said Olympic Games, has now made the prudent move to postpone the Tokyo Olympics to mid-next year.

Likewise, here on our chunk of earthly terrain, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) announced a bold, new regulation last week which mandates every club in the country’s top tier football league to set up an Under-15 youth team, and this process of setting up youth teams must have been completed by the outset of next season, the TFF said sternly.

Indeed, this is such an impeccable decision taken by the TFF that it deserves to be lauded to the hilt.

Admittedly though, it has to be acknowledged that as a country, we have covered extensive ground where the particularly significant matter of grassroots football development is concerned.

This is evidenced by the giant strides taken by the national Under-17 men’s team on the sink-or-swim continental youth football landscape.

Nevertheless, this same staunch commitment to youth football has NOT been exhibited to the same admirable extent in the country’s pre-eminent football championship, the Mainland Premier League.

Granted, there was the Mainland Premier League’s U-20 tourney fondly nicknamed the ‘Uhai Cup’, which was launched several years ago to wide acclaim.

Sadly though, the ‘Uhai Cup’ swiftly came to naught merely after a few years for some important reasons.

Ever since the ‘Uhai Cup’ was roughly shoved aside, the need for Premier League clubs to nurture the growth of their own talented youngsters was an issue that was relegated to the back-burner.

Doubtlessly, it should be noted that the ‘Uhai Cup’ was revived a few years ago, which was a truly encouraging development.

Having said that though, few would dispute the argument that local football was negatively affected during the bad spell when the ‘Uhai Cup’ was conspicuously absent.

Nonetheless, all that is now thankfully in the past. And, at the risk of repeating myself it has to be recognized that the TFF’s directive for all Premier League outfits to have youth teams, especially Under-15 football sides is a true gem of an idea.

It is hoped then that more Mbwana Samattas, Ibrahim Ajibus and Simon Msuvas will rise from obscurity to stardom as a result of the TFF’s new initiative, which merits great praise indeed.

Switching gears now, there was another major talking point which set tongues a-wagging on the domestic sports patch.

And refreshingly, it had nothing at all to do with football. Instead, the notable and praiseworthy development stemmed from domestic volleyball.

Indeed, last week, a Tanzanian volleyball coach, Alfred Selengia, was selected by the Confederation of African Volleyball, CAVB, to be one of the 12 continental volleyball instructors starting from this month.

According to the terms of his new, respectable position, Selengia has now acquired the technical nous to train volleyball coaches in practically any country on the continent.

This is no mean feat. In fact, it is tantamount to Tanzania winning a prestigious continental volleyball competition, in this writer’s humble estimation.

Thus, lavish praise should be heaped on Alfred Selengia, who has single-handed put Tanzania on the African volleyball map.