PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan hails brave Under-23 players for clinching the CECAFA trophy in the tournament that climaxed in Ethiopia on Friday.
President Samia commended the national youth team yesterday through her tweet after the national team arrival in Dar es Salaam from Ethiopia.
"I congratulate the national youth team Under-23 for winning the Central and Eastern African Championship (CECAFA-2021).
The achievement has brought respect to our country, and it is a privilege to promote sports. I call on sports stakeholders to promote our sports efforts."
During their arrival, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) said unity and good cooperation with sport stakeholders had been the backbones to junior national teams' success in major contests. This was said yesterday in the city by the federation's president Wallace Karia.
Tanzania defeated Burundi 6-5 in post-match penalties to win the Under-23 CECAFA title for the first time, and the brave men landed home yesterday after a success mission.
"So far, our junior national teams have excelled to win major titles from various competitions and this is a product of unity and good cooperation with all responsible stakeholders.
"I believe that if we can continue to do the same towards the senior team, definitely a lot of success can be registered as such, let's divert our efforts to help the national team do well in their upcoming duels," said Karia.
Commenting on the final game itself against Burundi, the TFF boss observed that it was a tough match but gave credit to the national flag carriers for a good job they did "We went there late, and we did not have ample preparation time, but the boys put on a spirited fight until they managed to bring home the title," he said.
On his part, national teams' coordinator Daniel Msangi narrated that good results being achieved by junior teams are the fruits of adequate support from the country's football governing body.
"We always enjoy good support from TFF and other concerned stakeholders, which together help the teams to prosper," he said.
He mentioned some contributing factors towards getting tangible results as playing enough friendly matches, among others. Tanzania clinched the CECAFA trophy unscratched in their four games.
They won 1-0 against DR Congo, played to a 1-1 stalemate versus Uganda, defeated South Sudan 1-0 before stunning Burundi 6-5 in the finals.
However, Taifa Stars Head Coach Kim Poulsen, who drove the Under-23 side to success, used the competition as a platform to spot some of the players to be inserted in the senior team.
This is so upon considering that some of the current Taifa Stars troops are nearing the retirement door; hence they need to be replaced by new blood sourced from the junior sides, especially the Under-23 team.
Players like John Bocco, Mbwana Samatta, Erasto Nyoni and others do not have more years to parade in the senior team as such, their replacements need to start to be groomed now.