2007: Year of defeat in Tanzania`s sporting event

Tanzania did not fare well this year in sporting events. It was a year of defeats. From athletics to football, the most favourite sporting game.

For over three decades, athletes have been the major medal hopes for Tanzanians in various World class events. But this year things turned upside down.

In athletics Tanzania performed poorly at the All Africa Games held in Algiers, Algeria, in July.

The entire contingent of 30 athletes and officials managed to secure only a single silver medal earned by Martin Sulle, compelling fans to dub them tourists.

Sulle won a silver medal when he finished second in the men’s half-marathon after clocking 2.45.58
In boxing our team which was supposed to go to Chicago, United States of America for an international boxing bouts in preparation for next year`s Olympic Games in Beijing, China, did not make it due to lack funds for travel to and from the US.

In football Tanzania lost 0-1 to Mozambique in the race for a place in the Africa Nations Cup finals scheduled for Ghana next year. Tanzania began the race impressively by beating Burkina Faso 2-1 thus putting it ahead in the group’s table.

Tanzania also failed to make it to the finals in the CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup tournament which it hosted.

The national team, Kilimanjaro Stars was eliminated 1-0 in the quarter finals by Sudan.

Fans were irked by the performance, calling for the resignation of the chief coach Marcio Maximo.

But the coach has made it clear that he won’t resign arguing that the had done a commendable job to raise the standard of football in Tanzania which fans don’t see and appreciate.

The only area in soccer where relief was recorded was when the national Women`s Soccer team, Twiga Stars made it to the second round of the qualifying matches for Women`s African Nations Cup finals after beating Eritrea 1-0 in Dares Salaam and 3-2 in the earlier match played in Asmara.

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Woman of the match was Mwatumu Mwapewa who scored two goals in Asmara and the lone goal in Dar es Salaam.

The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), however, did a commendable job during the year. It established the U-17 team and managed it to the finals in Bujumbura, Burundi.

Leodgar Tenga, TFF president, said while launching the team that the intention behind the approach was to prepare the youngsters become good players in future and form a formidable national squad.

Generally the standard of Tanzania’s football has risen under his command from 126th position three years ago to 84th berth now. “Judging from the level of our football prior to Tenga assuming office, he has indeed recorded some successes,“ one stakeholder observed.

Another major incident in the year was the election of Leodgar Tenga to the presidency of the Confederation for Eastern and Central Africa Football Associations, CECAFA.

Tenga scooped eight votes out of 11 votes cast while his opponent Ashebir Giorgis from Ethiopia settled for the remaining three.

Speaking after the election exercise, Tenga declared his commitment to transforming CECAFA into a vibrant regional soccer body.

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