Management of football clubs in Tanzania

In international football there are various different ways in which clubs are owned and managed. These range from power being in the hands of one individual to power being with the members. In the modern way of running clubs, members have to be part of the club by contributing towards their development and having a passion with the survival and growth of the club. This is important given the expense involved in running them and the need for them to survive in the longer term.

In Tanzania for many years, we have had Simba SC, Yanga FC, Mtibwa, Maji Maji, Pamba FC, Mirambo, CDA of Dodoma and many other clubs. However most of these are not surviving any more due to the system under which they were run.The survival of Simba and Yanga is down to the passion of the fans or wakereketwa who will not allow these clubs to go off the map. But this is fragile and may not last. Many people advised Simba and Yanga to run in a profit-making way, having a membership and good management structure, as measured by the performance of the club, the type of players and opportunities available to sell their players overseas.

All of this in order to create awareness of the club and make profit and in the long term be sustainable. The Managing Director of IPP, Reginald Mengi, for example, in the past tried hard to give professional advice to the Yanga football club in terms of how to transform into a company, including offering his own expertise but this proved a failure as the members were reluctant to change their attitude from the traditional way to a more professional way of running the club.

Football clubs from small towns find it very hard to survive due to the low economic activity generally in their areas and this leads to them being vulnerable because of running costs, salaries to the players, insurance, sports gear and low income from entrance fees. Many people who consider themselves members are not willing or able to pay the ticket price so they are used to ruka ukuta in order to enjoy the game. By doing this they are not contributing anything to the clubs survival unfortunately.

Some examples of how football clubs are run internationally are as follows. Milan AC and Chelsea FC are run along the individual style with most of the shares in the hands of a few individuals. The advantage is that they can make their own decisions and do not have too much external pressure. The disadvantages are that power and wealth stays with a small number of individuals who can sell up at anytime.

Manchester Utd and Tottenham Hotspur are examples of clubs run as companies with the majority of shares usually owned by institutions. Fans usually have a smaller amount of shares. This type has a large capacity to make profit. The negative side is that they can easily be bought out and it can be run in the best interest of the shareholders rather than the fans.


Barcelona FC and Real Madrid are run as membership based societies, non-profit making and they have to account to the people who pay and watch the game. Leadership, under this system, can change at any time if the members want it but also could lead to decisions being made at the expense of good management.

Juventus and Liverpool are more family based, with a family trust owning them. The club is the most important consideration more than profit.

The Barcelona FC and Real Madrid system has similiarities to how Tanzania clubs are run in terms of the fans being at the centre of it and electing the leaders and have a say in day to day activities. Clubs are generally run along the traditional membership based model like a society, with members electing the Chairman, Secretary and board members. This has led to decisions sometimes being made on the basis of strong feeling towards the club rather than looking at a longer term vision.

For example there are now many foreign coaches who are often removed from their posts under pressure from the membership, shinikizo. We need to follow good procedures in the selection process according to the agreed contract and they have to be given sufficient time to prove their ability/suitability.

There are also difficulties currently around the management with lots of conflict over decisions or the day to day activities. There is a real need for these clubs to become more professional and be run more like a business, with an aim of making profit so that they can be sustained in the long term and grow and develop.

One of the major drawbacks is the lack of stadiums. The majority of clubs do not have their own stadiums. Stadiums belonging to CCM are usually used or the national stadium. If teams were encouraged to acquire their own stadiums and their own websites and shops, they would have greater opportunities to market their merchandise and have more side businesses linked or alongside the stadium.

With this, even if clubs were relegated from the First back to the Second Division they would have resources to fall back on and sustain themselves. Having a system to send information to the members would generate more interest and may also attract clubs from Europe and other parts of the world to scout for new talent.

It would be useful to have key contact details of officials and general information about the players and the club for instance available to members /fans.

The government is now keen to support sports and work toward improvement of sports performance. It is very important therefore to invest more in building up the clubs and support the improvement in management and marketing side by insisting that every football club has a youth wing to allow young people to move up through the club and promote new talent.

This also ensures that recruitment of new players is sustained which the country benefits in the long run by having new players coming through.

Lets hope if the attitudes change it will help us to be able to focus on the big tournaments in the future, and who knows maybe we can join the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. Mungu ibariki Tanzania!

by Israel Saria [email protected]