Will Tanzania boxers qualify for Olympic Games?
Late preparation has always been the major reason behind the failure of our national teams in various international tournaments.
Year in year out, local sports fans have witnessed Tanzania exiting early from various international tourneys due to poor perfomance, caused by last minute preparation.
A recent example was the elimination of the national soccer team, Taifa Stars from the Challenge Cup played in Dar es Salaam and Arusha in December last year.The Olympic Games will be held in August in Beijing, China.
Thank God that Tanzania is the only country on the African continent which has been honoured to host the Olympic torch which is expected to arrive next month.
In this year’s event Tanzania had decided to send two categories of contestants to the Games; boxers and athletes.
But very unfortunately, since last year the effort made by the two categories to meet the standards to compete in the Games seem to be minimal.
The Boxing Federation of Tanzania, (BFT) and Athletes Tanzania (AT) strived hard to recruit the boxers and runners but have faced many problems including those of finance.
In January, BFT sent three boxers to the first Africa Zone Olympic Games qualifiers meet in Algeria but none qualified.
Todate, none of Tanzania`s boxers have met the Olympic Games standards.
On March 22, there will be another bout in Namibia, the last chance for the local boxers to strive for qualifying standards.If they fail again, it simply means that Tanzanian boxers will not compete in the event.
This week, BFT named another nine boxers who will train for only three weeks before competing in the last African Zone Olympic Games qualifying bout.
It is obvious that the three weeks are not enough for the boxers to train for such an important meet.
What is even more amazing is that the boxers who have been selected this time are those who failed in the Algeria bout.
Making matters worse, BFT said they have no money to keep the boxers in a training camp and ferry them to Namibia to compete.
“The training and the trip of the boxers to Namibia depends on securing sponsors. We need17m/- to facilitate their trip“ said BFT president Shaaban Mintanga recently.
This shows clearly that the probability of the boxers to perform well in Namibia is very minimal.
The question is, why didn`t BFT start preparation earlier for the boxer`s camp and trip? Will they get a sponsor to give them enough money at this late stage?
I think BFT should learn how to prepare the team earlier including looking for sponsors.
At least Athletes have done somewhat better, with four runners already qualified for the Olympic Games and the team in a training camp in Moshi.