Football: More than a game

Wednesday October 11 2017


Without a doubt football is the most popular sport in Tanzania and the world.

It's common to see three to four people daily in football jerseys or hear fans of Simba and Yanga football clubs ribbing at one another, off and on the pitch.

Football is a very exciting game, but part of its popularity is a result of its accessibility. That is, unlike many team sports, it does not take much money or great resources to play football. All you need is a somewhat flat field cleared of rocks, four poles/rocks to serve as goal-posts and a ball which can be made of any local material.

A daily sight, is seeing street children playing with a ball made out of rugged cloth materials. This shows how the love for the sport develops at a very young age.

As a child growing up in Tanzania, football becomes an integral part of your childhood stories. The sport of football is based on very basic laws, but the core of it is, essentially, seeing which team can outscore the other.

Football was introduced in Tanzania during European colonialism (being a popular sport in Europe up-to-date).


In the 1920's football clubs started being formed. These clubs were most often financed by businesses, or in some cases by government departments.

That is how football teams such as Gerezani United and Ilala staff came into being.

As humble as the game is over the years it has proven to be one of the most financially rewarding sports in the world. This is also partly due to its popularity.

Gate takings (tickets/match day revenue), selling of merchandise and food during match days is a source of direct income. The bulk of the income however, comes from sponsors. Sponsors who pay to attach their name to a club’s stadium, jerseys or even their match day suits, in the hope that their brand will reach the masses. Football clubs continue reinvesting the money by splashing out on player salaries or paying ridiculous transfer fees which could be deemed as obscene in any other area of life.

The game has not quite reached the crazy heights in Tanzania, let alone in Africa. A French club, Paris Saint Germain spent approximately £200 million (Sh580 billion) on Neymar Jr while Yanga SC spent Sh110 million on Haruna Nyonzima.

But with more investment pumping in and the game only getting bigger, it may not be too long before we see a multi-million USD transfer in Africa.

Stay tuned to Tanzania works this week as we explore the ideal capitalist business of football in Tanzania from ticket money, broadcasting, transfers, sponsorships, prize money to new ownership.

The Business of football is proudly brought to you by Raha Broadband visit.