EDITORIAL: Invest in the youth for football development

Saturday July 6 2019

Our national soccer team ‘Taifa Stars’ did not score any goals in the three matches it played in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) finals taking place in Egypt. The team lost 2-0 against Senegal; 3-2 against Kenya, and 3-0 against Algeria.

Consequently, there were mixed reactions to the dismal performance at the continent’s premier soccer competition.

While some Tanzanians commend the team for its fighting spirit, others blame it and the technical bench for what they considered poor performance. Also, some observers expressed surprise at how and why Taifa Stars were able to qualify for the finals– and then failed to shine in Cairo as expected.

There really is no earthly reason to spend time, energy and other resources on a witch-hunt in this. It is pointless to seek scapegoats on whom to pile blame for the poor show.

Instead, we should find ways and means – including funding – to effectively develop footballing skills in young Tanzanians who are manifestly endowed with talent that may still be latent.

It is believed that the country does indeed have uncounted youths who have sporting talent – and they only need to be identified for the right training and exposure to become modern-day ‘Peles’ and ‘Maradonas’ in the national, continental and global soccer stakes.


It is, therefore, the task of the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), the government and other football stakeholders to revisit sports organisation and promotional programmes. This is with a view to establishing where, what and why we are doing wrong – starting with our performance at the ongoing Afcon tourney.

Currently, Tanzania is at number 131 in the Fifa World Football Rankings out of 211 footballing countries. This is not good enough.