We have done well in sports, says JK
President Jakaya Kikwete has commended the achievement Tanzania has achieved since he came to power five years ago.
Closing the Bunge session in Dodoma yesterday, Kikwete said he was delighted by what he and the country achieved in the whole sport development campaign.
Among the major successes are the hiring Brazilian tactician Marcio Maximo to train the national team, Taifa Stars, recruiting Cuban coaches for athletics, boxing and judo as well as paying the salary of the netball team’s coach.
Under Maximo Tanzania managed to improve its position in the Fifa World soccer rankings from 172th in 2005 to 108th in April 2010.
“I believe we will score higher than that if we increase our efforts,” he said.
“Tanzanians are now proud of their country. Taifa Stars jerseys are worn everywhere, with matches against Mozambique, Cote d’Ivoire, Brazil and Cameroon being the best examples,” he said.
Further, Kikwete said, his government also revived sports activities in schools which ushered in the comeback of the Inter-Primary School Games(Umishumta) and the Inter Secondary School Games(Umiseta).
“Some of the players groomed from school-level and grassroots level programmes have now joined the premiership teams and the national team,” he said.
Even the outgoing Maximo was proud of Kikwete’s support which he said laid a strong soccer foundation during his four-year stint as the national team head coach.
Tanzania had dropped its underdog tag and he advised the TFF to focus on youth teams.
According to Kikwete, Tanzania has many gifted players, but they need to get appropriate training from their tender ages. By so doing Taifa Stars will be a force to reckon with on the continent.
Said he: “Three years ago, many African teams took us lightly, but now it’s different. Most of them shun clashing with Taifa Stars…we’ve made remarkable progress.”
Maximo was once quoted as saying: “They have done a tremendous job to promote football and now soccer excitement is countrywide…this eased my assignment.”