Dodoma: Sports Complex
With the continued interest in government of moving more ministries to Dodoma the issue of providing appropriate facilities remains a key issue. This article explores the need of having a sports complex in Dodoma in order to provide sports facilities to the expanding population in Dodoma but also to visiting government officials and visitors and contacts.
Under the former Prime Minister, Hon. John Samuel Malecela, it was proposed to have a sports complex on the outskirts of Dodoma . The Dodoma Master Plan had originally indicated the need for recreational facilities but they were not given prominence. The Master Plan’s priority was more or less the construction of infrastructure. Sports facilities were expected to be provided through private institutions but this has proved to be unrealistic. The inadequacy of the recreational facilities within the Master Plan was realised by a number of institutions, including the Prime Minister’s Office, which in 1991, initiated the “Dodoma Sports Complex” project. The proposal included construction of football and netball pitches, swimming pool, a hostel and multi-purpose hall. The idea of the complex was to have facilities which could host national events and training.
A lot of effort was made in trying to turn this proposal into reality. Collections were organised from other regions to fund the initiative, foundations were built on a site outside Dodoma , and water pipes were laid from Dodoma town. The project however was shelved for unknown reasons. The project coordinator was Mr Kuziganika who made contacts throughout the country to get backing and support.
The idea of having a sports complex needs to be revisited. Dodoma has no sports facilities in terms of proper basketball, volleyball and netball courts and general sports facilities. Most of the courts are owned by schools and/or religious institutions where access is limited and restricted, and are not of a high standard. Permission has to be got each time the courts are used which makes it difficult for people to be able to freely access them and get enough practice. This discourages young people from participating and makes it difficult for coaches trying to encourage new interest in the games. It also deprives Dodoma of a central focal point for sports activity.
The decision to move the capital to Dodoma has been the policy of the ruling party (CCM) during the first phase as well as the second phase. The third phase, under His Excellency, President Benjamin Mkapa, has continued in the same direction and more ministries have been moved over the past few years. As more and more government departments move and more investment comes to the town, the population is likely to continue to grow and the need to provide social facilities, including adequate sports facilities, will become more of an issue. It is unrealistic to expect that all of the support for such facilities can be provided by local institutions. Central investment is important in order to boost sports in Dodoma .
A central complex could promote greater social harmony, provide good facilities for people to practice and discuss sports and therefore guide them to becoming good citizens, open up opportunities for local coaches and trainers to use and develop their skills in a structured way, and provide a central social point for the town, particularly for young people. The side benefits would be significant for the local population and for visitors. It could be a centre for ball games, athletics, sports clinics, gym training, gymnastics, individual sports etc. For example, the Moi Kasarani Sports Centre in Nairobi , with swimming pools and other facilities of international standards, shows the importance of having proper sports facilities in order to effectively compete. This investment has brought clear improvements in performance of their sportspeople. Tanzania , meanwhile, only has one indoor stadium which is clearly insufficient given the size of the country.
As we are now looking to a fourth phase of the government, it is important that the new government is committed to the development of sports and considers ways to support local level institutions which are struggling with few resources. Traditionally funding sports projects has been done by the government through institutions especially schools and higher learning institutions. Due to lack of financial resources, central funding for sports activities has been limited. Reviewing how sport is funded and supporting an initiative like having a sports complex in Dodoma would go a long way to promoting interest and commitment to sport and raise the profile of sport generally in Tanzania .
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By Israel Saria [email protected]