This is a missed opportunity

In recent years Tanzania has been performing poorly in international sports arena. These sports include soccer, basketball, handball, volleyball, rugby, hockey, table tennis, athletics, boxing and the likes.

This situation has prompted majority of sports-loving Tanzanians to demand for the recruitment of new talents from the tender age so that they could be in a position to grasp well the knowledge conveyed by the coaches, trainers or experts of a particular sport.

However, today I will focus specifically on soccer.
Apart from being the sport which has most fans worldwide and Tanzania in particular, `Taifa Cup`soccer tournament which currently is taking place in Dar es Salaam could be an opportunity for the discovery of new soccer talents in the country.

The manner in which this tournament is being conducted has prompted mixed reaction from the soccer fans countrywide in the context of discovering new soccer talents.

There are those who support the manner in which the tournament is being conducted and there are those who oppose.

The ongoing Taifa Cup soccer tournament has been conducted from the beginning on the basis of knock-out and do include players who played in the Vodacom Premier League.

These have been the main reasons for this year’s Taifa Cup to bring about mixed reaction among soccer stakeholders, namely coaches, players, fans and sponsors.

Some of the soccer stakeholders are of the view that Taifa Cup is supposed to be the tournament used for the discovery and developing of new soccer talents in the country.

This group of stakeholders argues that this yea’s Taifa Cup tournament can not adequately contribute in obtaining and developing new talents because to conduct the tournament on the basis of elimination does not give players enough opportunity to reveal their soccer ability and experience.

Likewise they argue that Taifa Cup is supposed to emphasise on the discovery of new soccer talents, thus players who played in the Premier League should not be involved.

Recently, the former Minister for Information, Culture and Sports, Muhammed Seif Khatib, who currently is the Minister of State in Vice President`s Office responsible for Union Affairs, told the media that “it is difficult for the ongoing Taifa Cup to contribute in the discovery of new talents because the knock out system does not give players and coaches enough time to show their ability and knowledge in soccer.“

Similar views have also been echoed by Rukwa coach Zakaria Mgambwa, who is of the view that by including players who have played in the Premier League, Taifa Cup can not lead to the discovery of new soccer talents due to the fact that these players deprive the upcoming players an exposure and experience.

Meanwhile, those who support the manner in which this year`s tournament has been conducted argue that the tournament involve huge prize of money, therefore respective regions must do whatever possible to be in the position to receive the reward of Tsh30 million.

When they are asked about the need of discovering and developing new football talents, their reply is that there is already in place tournament with that objective – that is Copa Coca Cola.

Frankly speaking, both sides have valid arguments, nevertheless I concur with those who argued that Taifa Cup tournament should be an arena for acquiring and developing new talents.

This is so due to the fact that I find the argument that Copa Coca Cola can serve the task of discovery of new talents not acceptable.

Copa Coca Cola involve players who are not above seventeen years of age while we need to develop players of other age category such as under twenty one years of age, so that we have sustainable soccer talents development programmes.

The famous soccer commentator in the country, Liki Abdallah, who is also known as Dr. Liki, on several occasions has been suggesting the need to invest in discovering and developing new soccer talents in the country.

Taifa Cup, in my view, could serve the purpose. Thus this year`s Taifa Cup tournament is the missed opportunity in the context of discovery and development of new soccer talents in the country.

Finally, I call upon all those responsible for football administration and development in the country to use Taifa Cup tournament in the coming years for that intention.

  • SOURCE: Guardian

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