Outcomes of Kilimanjaro Stars victory to TFF policy making
How far shall the victory of Kilimanjaro Stars in the recent CECAFA Senior Challenge Cup permit greater initiative on the part of the leadership of the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) in relation to soccer development?
Some of these challenges are well known in the sense that they are regularly the basis of consultations with the global federation (FIFA), and other challenges are more casual or come up from time to time, especially from the sports-minded President Jakaya Kikwete, or minister or deputy ministers in charge, like Joel Bendera until lately. Does anyone recall what they advised?
When a company gets a major award for instance, it is common to hear that this award shall not lead to relaxation on the part of management and staff, but it should instead pose a challenge for them to realise set goals of meeting customer expectations.
Normally that would also be expected of say TFF in the wake of the Challenge Cup win, the first since 1994, and thus expect that things will change for the better, now that success has been reached. The question however is whether success arose from TFF efforts, or it arises entirely from the president’s initiative to continue paying for the coach.
This was the first victory that TFF won over the president, so to speak, for he had once declared that his gesture to pay for the coach was only for the first coach, and from then onwards, TFF should make own arrangements for his replacement when the time comes.
Chances are that TFF would have shifted to a local coach, pay him as much as they would have the cash or the will to pay, and let JK take the brunt of the criticism if standards fell in the national team. It is apparent that JK grasped this; he rectified the problem as clashing with TFF as to who should pay the coach was a non-starter.
It also seems there was greater luck this time as the new coach, Jan Poulsen, found the perfect mix of players and techniques to blaze its way through tough opposition in the Challenge Cup, especially the final match where the skills and game pattern of the Ivorians made them unmistakable favorites.
But like Kili Stars they lost one match to Rwanda, whom Kili Stars then defeated, in which case they were the better side by anecdotal comparison. Yet the Ivorians won within 90 minutes their semi-final encounter while Kili Stars scraped through on penalty shootouts. And then Lady Luck smiled.
At the psychological level however, this is no environment in which success could breed challenges, and instead it breeds comfort and self-assurance, until failure beckons and leadership starts being sensed as illegitimate.
The reason is that there is no competitive format in soccer organization from club level to national team level, where the club culture of management permeates handling the national
side as well. Instead TFF becomes a parastatal organization with extremely well paid officials similar to Tanroads, the Bank of Tanzania or other executive agencies; if they are criticised they hide from the public, cling to their privileges, waiting until nature takes its course – if by polls, much later.