THEREHEREHEREHERE was this interesting debate this week in one of our local, private television channels between and among sports analysts over the elimination of Taifa Stars from the Afcon qualifications.
The debate was interesting because it dwelt more or less on issues I have repeatedly touched on in my sports columns over our non-performing national soccer team, Taifa Stars. A s we all know, Taifa Stars were recently eliminated from the continental soccer tournament despite winning their last match at home against Libya by one goal.
The local sports analysts said although Taifa Stars won their last match against Libya, the latter had not played their ten first players, meaning that had they fielded their all their best players, it is very much likely our team may have failed to win the match.
The majority of the sports analysts in the programme under discussion were of the opinion that Taifa Stars were made of very ordinary players. And because of that, we should not complain whenever the team fails to perform in any continental soccer tournament. But one of the analysts said much as our players were very ordinary players, they had also another big problem.
They lacked drive compared to their counterparts. What does this mean? Simply put, the analyst meant that our players were not committed. But other sports analysts said they lacked the drive or commitment because they were ordinary players, they were poor players which translated in lack of both talent and skills to take on their opponents.
Interestingly, on Thursday, in the same week, President Samia Suluhu Hassan had this to say when she spoke about her appointment of the minister for, among other things, sports: “Our girls have performed honourably in international sports. They have won three silverware in international soccer tournaments. Yet no one is saying anything about this!”
“But when men do something close to that,” said the president, “they are rewarded with plots for building their houses.” I totally agree with the president’s comments. Our girls not so long ago, they won the COSAFA soccer tournament in South Africa. But how many Tanzanians know that?
Very few and the main reason is that our media had hardly written anything about such important achievement. President Samia did not end there. She called on those she had appointed to man sports dockets to increase their assistance and support to women who were at least performing to required standards.
In fact, this week was full of very interesting developments. For just when local sports analysts were making spot on comments on the sick man of Tanzania’s soccer, Taifa Stars and President Samia said what she had said, TFF President, Wallace Karia, had the audacity to announce, in the same week, his intention once again was to run for the federation’s presidency!
Now when you talk about non-performing Taifa Stars, what you’re actually doing is you are accusing the very man who wants to once again run for the federation’s presidency having already failed to perform in the very docket he is holding. But, because we are all living in a democratic country, he has all the right under the sun to seek re-election.
Indeed, no one has the right to stop him. But it is my sincere wish and hope that if re-elected, he would have learnt where he had gone wrong. H aving helped Taifa Stars to qualify for the AFCON finals, for the second time in history, two years ago, I had very much hoped that he would have ensured that the team succeeded, once again, in qualifying for the AFCON finals back to back.
A nd what he was supposed to do did not require rocket science. He had already brought in the right coach, in the Burundian man. Why he sacked the man after that good performance in the CHA N has to me remained nothing but a conjecture. A s I had occasion to note in my column the week the Burundian was shown the door, I have no problem with Kim Poulsen.
But not as a coach for Taifa Stars. I would have loved if the Danish would have been given a docket for overseeing our young players’ development in our soccer academies. Poulsen could have worked very well with the Burundian man. Our CHAHAN team was well selected.
They dominated possession of the ball throughout the matches they played against Guinea Conakry, Zambia and Namibia. What they now needed was provision of many friendly matches to help the coach in fine-tuning the team. Saria has already announced his intention to seek re-election.
Local sports analysts have already said, our male soccer players, especially in Taifa Stars are very ordinary players incapable of taking us anywhere. But more importantly, the country’s newly sworn in President, Samia Suluhu Hassan is also watching! She has already made her verdict. Men in soccer have failed us and no one can argue about that.
We have indeed failed despite being given massive support by the government. My young brother Karia what do you have to say about President Samia’s comments? To me, this is about your performance. Yes, two years ago you send us to Afcon. But our performance left a lot to be desired. This had been the right time to amend what we had failed last time. But it was not to be.