Realising President Jakaya Kikwete’s Vision

Tanzaniasports::Where Sports People Meet

Presentation Made to Tanzania High Commission in London

By Hildebrand Shayo

Sport is a dynamic and fast-growing sector with an underestimated macro-economic impact and can contribute to the objectives of economic growth and job creation. It can serve as a tool for local and regional development, urban regeneration or rural development. Sport has synergies with tourism and can stimulate the upgrading of infrastructure and the emergence of new partnerships for financing sport.

Although sports development in Tanzania has been a recognised aspect of sports policy since the 1970s, it is only recently that President Jakaya Kikwete’s vision has given crucial attention to this field. President Jakaya Kikwete has a grand vision for sports, although besieged with other socio- economic and political issues pressing his government.

Sports activists agree that the President’s vision calls for the need for Tanzania to have top notch facilities countrywide and maintain the infrastructure currently not been used efficiently. It is within this context that, the President’s vision has found the answer. The Wassern Media Group (WMG) was really encouraged by the way President Jakaya Kikwete is committed to sports and its future in Tanzania.

President J. K. Kikwete’s vision of “sports talent and recruitment support” takes one back to the comment he made sometime this year in London when interviewed by Tanzaniasports. He said:

……” I am often asked about sports and I understand how the people feel about the under performance of our national team i.e. Tanzanian teams and clubs that has been a feature up to now. Football is well known throughout Tanzania. It should be possible to have a situation whereby players with potential can be identified and get professional assistance and from there we can develop them through good programmes without interfering with their studies or lifestyle” (President J.K. Kikwete interview with Saria in London, 2007)

Apart from President Jakaya Kikwete’s feeling on sports, in the Great Lake Zone, he (President Jakaya Kikwete) and Burundi President Pierre Nkurunziza are sighted as active sportsmen and through this involvement, the ODM-Kenya 2007 Presidential candidate acknowledged this move by stating that:

…. you can see where their country i.e. Tanzania and Burundi is headed. It is only through personal involvement by the highest authority that sports can prosper (Quotes from ODM Presidential candidate Nairobi 2007).

Players between the ages of 6-13 in Africa are usually at the same level in terms of ability. They all have similar qualities in terms of physique, technique and passion for football. However, what distinguishes the Tanzanian from the Nigerian or Cameroonian or Ivorian or a British player is what happens after the age of 13. WMG proposals include frameworks and practical models that will attract private sector into sport business as investment to avoid scenarios where government seeks external help for sports upkeep.

The Tanzania High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Her Excellence Mwanaidi Majaar Senare was positive towards the WMG initiative. She is of the opinion that developing practical actions and enhanced cooperation on sport at all levels in Tanzania needs to be underpinned by a sound knowledge base. The quality and comparability of sound tailored programmes need to be enhanced to allow for better strategic planning and policy-making in the area of sports financing that would allow the initiative offered by WMG to Tanzania to be realised.

Reiterating the commitment offered to the United Republic of Tanzania by WMG, her excellence added that when you look at our funding position in Tanzania, there are a number of priorities that might require immediate action as compared to football. Nevertheless, she stated that Tanzania needed to find long-term solutions to the problems which have blighted football development.

Her excellence, Mwanaidi, stated that never before in the history of local football has an opportunity of this magnitude been proposed to Tanzania, and she was most grateful to the WMG chief executive and his team for considering Tanzania among many countries in sub-saharan Africa.

During Presentation to Tanzania High Commissioner in London by WMG

People like Pele, Steven Gerald and Alan Shearer, Michael Owen and Shevchenko and Beckham are not only sportsmen, they are also brands. Hence why WMG thinks that there is no reason as to why Tanzania with its 38 million people can not produce stars that can serve the same clubs played by the well-known stars or footballers. Hosting high-level sporting events that are sustainable is the way WMG proposes to push Tanzanian talents into world known clubs industry.

WMG’s dossier and framework on how to achieve President Jakaya Kikwete’s vision and how Tanzania will benefit is expected to be presented for consultation in Tanzania in early January 2008. According to WMG this model is based on the evidence WMG has accumulated over the years across the globe. According to WMG, this interest involves grassroots level right through to the senior and international level including players, and administrators. The presentation to be delivered in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania will present the core struggle and dilemma currently facing soccer in Tanzania and a roadmap (White Paper) and achievable proposal for action taking into account other socio-economic needs pressing on the life of Tanzanians. According to WMG, President Kikwete’s vision dossier to be presented to the appropriate authority in Tanzania will be accessible for discussion and for anyone to make a contribution early next year.

Officials from WMG, with the Tanzania High Commissioner in London Mama
Maajar at Tanzania House in London

Anticipated areas of consultation that the dossier is likely to cover include how Tanzania as a country will benefit – including proposals to help clubs to address the existing weakness in strategy and ability to attract private sector participation and how to build a stronger and sustainable support base for the future funding and promotion of players welfare.

As part of promoting Tanzanian tourist destinations, WMG will also consider engaging with former and current international professional players managed by WMG to tour Tanzania and visit tourist attractions such as Mt. Kilimanjaro, National Parks and other attractions and invest time in sharing their professional football experience with Tanzania counterparts.

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