Soccer rivalry irks Tenga

Tanzania Football Federation president Leodegar Tenga

If there is anything that has been disturbing Tanzania Football Federation president Leodegar Tenga is rivalry between Zanzibar and Mainland at international stage.

Tenga said he has been shocked by the increasing levels of rivalry between the two Tanzanian teams whenever they meet in Cecafa Senior Challenge Cup championships.

The TFF president, who also dons Cecafa presidential badge, said it’s high time efforts must be directed at freezing the growing rivalry between players of the two sides.

He said the consequences of the observed rivalry could be detrimental in the long run as football is there to cement relationship between players, officials and fans as well.

“It’s very astonishing to see players losing their patience and resort to reckless tackles as if they don’t know each other to turn the football pitch into a battle field,” confessed Tenga during a press review in Nairobi over the weekend.

The TFF president said he does not exactly know the root of the problem while the same players are featuring at their respective premiership clubs without any difference.

The unnecessary rivalry is a bad gesture to upcoming players who are using the present stars of the two teams as role models to emulate their talents and skills as guidelines for building up their football careers, so says Tenga.

Mainland and Zanzibar soccer teams played twice in the just ended Challenge Cup championship in Kenya.

While Mainland won by a lone goal during the Group stage tie in Mumias on December 1, Zanzibar avenged the defeat on December 13 during the classification match at the Nyayo Stadium in Nairobi.

Both matches were dominated by rough tackles and referees had to flash some yellow and red cards as a result of indecent display from players of both sides.

While the source of the rivalry can not be officially documented, the big rift existing between TFF and Zanzibar Football Association (ZFA) might be a causative factor.

For the big part of the year, ZFA and TFF have been at loggerheads over FIFA membership and benefits until in August when efforts to mediate the two football authorities came into being.

Taifa Stars, a team with a blend of Mainland and Isles’ players, have been snubbed by ZFA on the grounds of selection criteria with head coach Marcio Maximo at centre stage of the crisis.


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