Dar es Salaam. With 30 days to go before the 2019 Africa Under-17 Cup of Nations roars into life, preparations for the tournament are on course.
The government has set aside Sh3.8 billion for the continental tournament to be held at two venues – the National Stadium and Azam Complex.
The organising committee said yesterday that it was “money well spent” considering the profile of the event as a continental soccer showpiece.
However, the organising committee secretary general, Leslie Liunda, said more needed to be done to market the tournament, which is a month away.
“We don’t have the luxury of having three or four months to prepare. But we still want to deliver a high-profile event for Africa,” he said in an interview with The Citizen.
He said that Dar es Salaam, being the host region, would increase its marketing campaign around the much anticipated event and boost ticket sales.
“We want the stadium to be full whether our team, Serengeti Boys, are playing or not,” he insisted.
According to Liunda, they use the money to foot various costs pertaining to the championship.
To ensure Serengeti Boys perform well, Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) will spend Sh1.6 billion on facilitating the team’s smooth preparations and participation in the tournament.
“The government has committed Sh3.8 billion, in addition to Sh1.6 billion set aside by TFF for Serengeti Boys,” he added.
Liunda said the door was still open to institutions and individuals wishing to sponsor the tournament.
The teams lined up for the tournament will be training at four venues – JK Youth Park, Uhuru Stadium, Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club, Chamazi ground and Hopac International School.
Serengeti Boys are expected to return home later this month from Turkey, where they competed in the Uefa Assist Youth Championship recently.
In their first match, they lost 1-0 to Guinea before notching up a 3-2 win against Australia.
They wound up their campaign in the championship with a 5-0 defeat at the hands of hosts Turkey.