Copa Coca-Cola 2008 relevant motivator for youth development

Tanzania has been for long facing the problem of inappropriate preparation of soccer players from the grassroots. Most of the players featuring in the various competitions in the country, including the Premier League, are incidental ones.

Nizar Khalfan

This tendency has led to the setback of having national soccer team players lacking some very rudimental skills of the sport, since most of them come from Premier League clubs whose system of recruiting and developing players is mediocre.

It should be noted that a country with a bunch of mediocre players in its Premier League ends up with a mediocre national squad.

In its pursuit to see the country`s soccer forge ahead, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) found it necessary to have a sponsor who could make the entire process of developing youth soccer players from the grassroots.

Fortunately enough, the soft drink brewers Coca-Cola accepted to sponsor the Under-17 youth competition under the name of Copa Coca-Cola, which is the Spanish version of Coca-Cola Cup.

Tanzania`s Copa Coca-Cola saw its first ball kicked off in June 2007 in Dar es Salaam and the just ended competition is the second of its kind.

By sponsoring the U-17 soccer competition, Coca-Cola has given the Tanzanian children a chance to play, an opportunity to feel that they are living. To the young child, play is life itself.

Play fills mind and body, mentality, emotionality and physical being. A child engrossed in a play is inventive, free and happy. Through the variety and depth of play, the child learns and grows.

To the children play is a serious business. By sponsoring Copa Coca-Cola competition, the soft drink brewers have created a serious business for our children as well as a chance for them to learn and grow.

Observing the children playing in the just ended competition, one would notice that there has been a lot of improvement as compares the way they performed last year.

The children`s performance reflects the work done by their teachers and coaches in making them become what they are.

The performance of most of the regional teams has displayed that there have been an improvement in the scouting and coaching approach of the children as well as the commitment of the coaches.

However, the improvement shown by the players and coaches could be much enhanced if regional authorities all over the country were supportive in the initial stages of the preparations of their teams.

Most regions seem to have left all the burden of preparing the teams to the sponsor as if regions benefit nothing from the whole process.

Regions must take the responsibility of assuring that the teams are well prepared and equipped with all the necessary gear which is not offered by the sponsor.

It will look absurd if regional authorities would just sit and watch the sponsor doing everything for the teams.

Arguably, the mentality of some of the regional heads of delegations haven`t changed much since the same problems experienced last year, cropped up during the just ended Cop Coca-Cola competitions.

It is quite saddening to notice that most of the regional officials who travelled along with the boys to Dar es Salaam expected to be supplied with subsistence allowances for their upkeep during the games.

This has been a pertinent problem to the TFF`s Youth Development Committee which is charged to see the competitions take place smoothly.

Regional authorities need to be informed that the sponsor offers meals and accommodation to the teams which include players and officials.

The question of allowances is out of the sponsors concern.

It would be advisable that regional authorities take care of their officials subsistence allowances so that the TFF and the sponsor concentrate on managing the competition.

Let us all join hands to see this noble goal achieved for the good of the game and for the glory of the nation.

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