The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) announced last season that it had blacklisted seven venues for being too poor to host Premier League matches.
The seven banned venues, which are likely to be cleared to host games as the new season is about to start, are Kaitaba Stadium in Bukoba, CCM Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga, Ali Hassan Mwinyi Stadium in Tabora, Majimaji Stadium in Songea, Jamhuri Stadium in Morogoro, Sokoine Memorial Stadium in Mbeya and Sheikh Amri Abeid Kaluta Stadium in Arusha
All these are owned by the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi, the oldest political party that has many revenue-generating landed investments across the county.
According to government statistics, there are 33 stadiums and playing fields across the country. CCM owns Kirumba in Mwanza, Sheikh Amri Abeid in Arusha, Mgambo of Mpwapwa, Samora and Sabasaba in Iringa, Kaitaba in Bukoba, Lake Tanganyika in Kigoma and Ilulu in Lindi.
CCM also owns Karume in Mara, Sokoine and Mbozi in Mbeya, Jamhuri in Morogoro, Umoja in Mtwara, Mwanakalenge in Coastal Region, Mandela in Rukwa, Majimaji in Ruvuma, Kambarage in Shinyanga, Kahama in Shinyanga, Namfua in Singida, Mkwakwani in Tanga and Ally Hassan Mwinyi in Tabora.
Mtibwa Sugar FC owns Manungu in Morogoro. Ushirika in Moshi is owned by Ushirika College, Nyamagana is owned by Mwanza City Council, Vita is owned by Tabora Municipality, Kaunda is owned by Jangwani-based Young African SC in Dar es Salaam, while Karume is owned by the Tanzania Football Federation in Dar es Salaam.
The new ultra modern national Stadium and Uhuru Stadium are the only ones owned by the government. The rest are owned by CCM except Amani, Gombani and Mao Zedong in Zanzibar.
Sheikh Amri Abeid and Jamhuri are good examples to illustrate the problem we have. These have been neglected. The pitches are dry and bumpy. In dry season, players emerge looking like mine boys of Mererani and in rainy season they emerge covered in mud like pigs.
This is allowed to happen and nobody is seen wanting to do anything about it. This, despite the fact that each stadium earns 10 per cent of the revenues generated from each match played.
Athletes have often aired their complaints about the poor state of the stadiums. The secretary general of the Tanzania Olympic Committee, Philbert Bayi says that tracks in some stadiums are dead.
The problem has been blamed on incompetence, with some people saying that most stadiums are managed by unqualified people. We need properly trained stadium managers to run these facilities.
CCM cannot shield itself from the blame. They earn money from their investments, why can’t they use the revenues generated to keep their infrastructure is good shape? Or simply why can’t they privatize their management?
It has been said that revenues generated from stadiums are directed into the owners’ pockets, who do not return any of it to maintain the respective stadiums.
Being the ruling party with a manifesto that says in capital letters that sports development is one of the priorities, CCM should surely walk the talk.