THE talk-of-the-town, call it the city if you like for the moment is the general election of the Tanzania Football Federation, TFF, to be held in Dodoma today.
The general election has been the talk of the town because it holds the key on whether or not this country is going to continue to live to its present name of a ‘head of a madman with which other people learn how to become barbers.’
The name of the madman’s head was bestowed on Tanzania football teams, from national to clubs, by the second phase President, Ali Hassan Mwinyi, after he apparently got fed up with officiating matches, as a guest of honour, in which soccer teams representing Tanzania in international soccer tournament always lost their matches.
When the outgoing TFF leaders were campaigning for the leadership, during the last election, some of their promises were to get rid of the name of a madman’s head.
But as we all know today, they failed miserably, hence the dire need for the electorate this time around to make sure that they don’t get into leadership people who are incapable of getting rid of the infamous name of madman’s head!
In order to get into leadership the right people, the electorate must carefully and critically interrogate those who are seeking leadership. They also need to introduce a caveat, if you like, to the TFF’s Constitution which spells out what should be done in case the elected leadership fail to deliver within a given, specified time. Yes, they need to introduce a recall.
In the past, it has been easy to get anyone into leadership because things were organized, in such a way, that those who played the role of the electorate were people who had already been carefully selected to support in-coming leadership or those seeking re-election.
In fact, that explains why we have always had the same people passing out as TFF leaders. For instance, after former founding president of the new TFF, Leo degar Tenga, had succeeded not only in building the foundation of the new organization, efforts to re-elect him were fought left, right and centre by forces who saw him as an anti-eating man.
For fear of similar games being played out in Dodoma today, it would be proper for the PCCB to keep close watch on the goingson around the general election. Yes, let people be elected because they are seen as having the ability to turn around football fortunes and nothing else.
As for those entrusted with the difficult task of casting their all-important votes in this general election, the electorate, let them consider themselves as nothing more than game changers.
Indeed, we can only turn around the fortunes of this country’s soccer until and unless we have the right crop of leadership at the helm of the TFF. Many have talked a lot about Zanzibar being thrown out of the Confederation of African Football, CAF.
But I’m strongly convinced that had both sides of the United Republic been strong contenders for CAF’s organized soccer tournaments, Zanzibar would not have been kicked out of CAF.
Indeed, how did we expect CAF to continue keeping part of the Union as an independent CAF member when both sides of the Union could hardly go beyond the preliminary round of any soccer tournament, be it club or national team level?
For the first time in the history of the TFF’s general election, we have an array of different faces, from businessmen of sort to former internationals. The good thing about former internationals who have thrown their weight in the election, have sound education which is certainly an added advantage.
It is an added advantage because being a former international per se is not enough in seeking elective office in the TFF. It is important to bear in mind that TFF is a national soccer body that requires people with good, academic background that would keep them abreast with the goings on of international soccer.
For instance, we need a TFF president who is at ease with any of the international languages like English, French or Spanish. And this is one of the things the electorate need to look at before they cast their precious votes to anyone.
They need to ask themselves are those seeking elective posts, especially for the top, decision making position of the TFF president, at least comfortable with any of international languages? This question is crucial because even in the recent Zanzibar case, it is possible that our representatives failed to present the Zanzibar case due to language problems.
It is also important to give a chance to former internationals, but who are also lawyers. This is due to numerous disputes that arise in soccer, disputes that require not only football minds, but also legal much as the latter could also be hired.
When we had people like Said El Maamry as FAT chairman, we fared well in soccer disputes as the man was and still one of the best legal minds in the country. When all is said and done, I wish those seeking elective post in the TFF’s general election all the best.