SPORTS minister, Dr Harrison Mwakyembe told the newly elected TFF leadership, to get medicine for the sick man of Tanzania’s sports, football, as soon as possible. “You don’t have time to celebrate your victory,” said the minister whose docket includes sports.
I totally agree with him. There is absolutely no time to celebrate. The new TFF leadership need to start work immediately. Starting work immediately means directing Vodacom Premier League clubs to start, immediately, work on juvenile soccer teams.
The juvenile soccer teams ought to take the scientific form of soccer academies. This is what I told former TFF president, Jamal Malinzi, immediately he was elected. Unfortunately he did not take any action.
It would be suicidal for the new TFF president, Wallace Karia, and his deputy, Michael Wambura, if they did what Malinzi and his team did. They ignored the call for establishment of soccer academies by teams taking part in the premier league.
For many, past TFF elections, Michael Wambura had failed to get elected through nothing more than malice. Wambura is finally in the saddle. For some of us who know how much ‘forces,’ some of them in the TFF, fought tooth and nail against him, we now expect him to deliver.
Yes, we expect him to show Tanzania soccer fans, in deeds, what they had lost when he was kept outside the TFF leadership. But for Wallace Karia, who has been, in one way or another, part of the TFF leadership, we expect him to show the Tanzanian world that he could not perform because he was not the boss.
As had rightly been noted by Dr Mwakyembe, another first the newly elected TFF leadership need to work on, include seeking out Serengeti Boys who most of us don’t know where they are now after their historic performance in the African Youth Soccer tournament in Gabon a few months ago.
They need to get to Serengeti Boys to the public because their elimination from the tournament does not disqualify them from other African Youth Soccer tournaments. To the contrary, they mark the start of their competitions in such tournaments.
For after their participation in the U-17, they now need to be prepared by somebody, and this can only be the TFF, for the U-20, U-21 and U-23, with the latter being confined to the Olympics. The question is how can Tanzania be prepared for the U-20 when Serengeti Boys are left to rot in the Tanzanian soccer wild?
For Wallace Karia, the fact that he had been part of the TFF leadership in the past and did not help the organization, is already a blemish for him although most of us would now want to allow him start a new lease of life.
For him and his deputy, Wambura, time is not in their side, hence the dire need for them to start working immediately for resuscitating our soccer which is presently in the Intensive Care Unit. Both men need to bear in mind that Tanzania’s soccer will get nowhere as long as TFF continues to rely on soccer players who were brought outside soccer academy system.
Therefore, the only way forward for Tanzanian soccer depends on soccer academies. Another way of getting soccer academies in the country on track is for the TFF to go around the country and investigate the strength and weaknesses of existing soccer academies.
They need to do that because that is already a good start that may now need technical support from the TFF. The other way of ensuring the development and growth of soccer academies is to bind VPL clubs into signing every season, at least five youths from soccer academies.
The clubs could sign such youth from within their own soccer academies or from other academies. Without putting such a clause in the rules governing registration of new players; no efforts would be made by VPL clubs in the development of soccer academies in the country.
The third, most important step is dealing with corrupt referees. Whenever such people are discovered, they should be banned from officiating soccer matches for the rest of their lives. The same thing should be done for leaders of clubs, where evidence is established beyond reasonable doubt, that they have been involved in buying matches or paying players to throw away games.
Such soccer leaders should not be allowed in soccer, and the best place for them, is outside the beautiful game. In Tanzania there have been cases where players throw away games and later leave for the club which has been paying them.
The new TFF leadership should ensure that such things or conduct become history. The newly elected TFF leadership has one major challenge though. They will have to overcome sooner than later.
For instance, some of them are known to be members or former leaders of two of the most powerful soccer clubs in the country. Of course, we all know that there is no way that TFF can get a leader or leaders outside the two or three most powerful clubs in the country.
However, when soccer disputes arise, the new leadership should strive not to be seen, in any way, to be punishing a club in order to protect their former club. I’m raising this point because memories are still fresh in our minds on how one of the two big guns was robbed of its points when evidence existed on how the other club had fielded a player who should not have been allowed to play as he was still serving a match ban.
The circumstances that later led to the dispossession of three points and three goals from the big club has remained a puzzle to date. The point is, let us the new TFF leadership work as justly as humanely possible.
That is the only way of taking our soccer to another level. I personally wish them all the best.