President Kikwete hails Cote d`Ivoire

President Jakaya Kikwete (R) presents a Taifa Stars coloured jersey to Didier Drogba of Cote d`Ivoire bearing his name at the Golden Tulip hotel in Dar es Salaam, yesterday.

President Jakaya Kikwete expressed his sincere appreciation to Cote d’Ivoire national soccer team for honouring the invitation to tour Tanzania and play two friendly internationals against Stars and Rwanda.

The President who hosted a luncheon to the three teams of Rwanda, Cote d’Ivoire and the host side at the Golden Tulip hotel in Dar es Salaam yesterday, said the week-long tour has been highly beneficial.

He said the presence of the West African side in Dar es Salaam was coupled with extensive coverage on global media scale.

The President said never in the past had Tanzanian soccer attained the level of publicity and exposure like what is happening now as most of the leading televisions and other news agencies have focused their attention to highlight the Cote d’Ivoire’s entourage.

He said Cote d’Ivoire’s skipper Didier Drogba’s trademark glancing header that separated the two teams during the tour opener on Monday, was followed by huge publicity across the soccer fraternity in the World.

He said England based Sky television dedicated some valuable airtime to highlight the friendly tie between Stars and the visitors, something which he believes has never happened before.

“It has been pride for us to have been associated in soccer events with high profile teams of the continent such as the Cote’ d’Ivoire”, said Kikwete.

The President said just one match against the West African team has made a huge difference in terms of playing standard of the Taifa Stars team and its status in the world.

“Thank you very much for the tour and you have played a big role in elevating our football standard as well as huge exposure through publicity in the World”, said The President.

The President also noted that Drogba’s post match comments were echoed throughout the world highlighting a superb show by the host team.

Despite the slim win by the visitors, the host side has gained massive applause from the fans not only in Tanzania but also across the globe.

The President also extended his appreciation to his counterpart in Cote d’Ivoire and their football federation (FIF) for the decision to allow their teams to tour Tanzania ahead of the Nations Cup finals.

Besides appreciations, President Kikwete wished the team the best of luck in their African Nations Cup title campaign in Angola and World Cup as well.

He said should Cote d’Ivoire lift the Nations Cup title in Angola, Tanzania will be highly proud of the success as it played a crucial role towards the team’s build up ahead of the showdown.

“Should you win the final berth, then we will rally behind you to cheer your team so that it lifts the title in Angola”, said the President.

Apart from pouring praise to Cote d’Ivoire team and officials, the President thanked Rwanda national team for accepting the invitation to play against the West African side as part of their build up towards the Nations Cup finals.

He wished Rwanda the best of luck to win today’s friendly so as to keep the East African region on track for success.

SOURCE: THE GUARDIAN

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