The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF)

The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) has said it will request assistance from the World’s Soccer governing body FIFA, to correctly re-install the artificial turf at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam. The pitch of the formerly National Stadium has been transformed with artificial turf being installed last year.

However, it has emerged that since the FIFA sponsored artificial turf was laid, the venue remains unsuitable to host matches during rainy seasons, because the drainage system has completely failed to work. Several league matches have been cancelled because the venue always turns to a mere fishpond, whenever it rains heavily.

TFF President Leodegar Tenga said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the Federation was planning to inform FIFA to rectify the problem. “We are aware of the problem. It’s really disturbing but we are making efforts to find a lasting solution, to ensure that the ground is suitable to host matches all seasons,” said Tenga.

The government closed the venue in April last year to pave way for the major turn around, that was supervised by an expert form Netherlands, Leedert Van Dergreft. Apart from Uhuru Stadium which is one the oldest venues in the country, the expert also helped lay the artificial turf at the Karume Sports Complex, both in Dar es Salaam.

However, the Karume Stadium does not experience the problem. The programme to lay artificial turf in the venues followed the FIFA proposal to up lift the standard of the facilities, to enable them be used for warm-up and tune-up matches, prior to the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament to be held in South Africa.

Thirteen African countries, including Tanzania were sorted out by an agreement struck between FIFA and the Confederation of African Football (CAF) earlier last year, to provide soccer pitches where qualified teams will warm up and tune up for the World Cup. FIFA agreed to finance the change-over of the then existing natural turf of grass into artificial turf of fibres, so as to enable the existing venue to last longer.

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