Football fraternity celebrate Mzee Mwinyi’s reign

TANZANIA: TANZANIA is mourning the loss of one of its most respected leaders, former President Ali Hassan Mwinyi, who passed away at the age of 98.

Football veterans have reflected on Mwinyi’s reign in sports, praising his contribution to the development of sports in the country.

Football Coach Boniface Mkwasa told the ‘Daily News’ that President Mwinyi was a leader who loved sports during his tenure.

He recalled that the former president did a lot for the national team and always believed in positive results.

“During his reign, we enjoyed his contribution in sports. He did a lot for the national team, and one thing about him is that he despised defeat and encouraged hard work to earn positive results,” he explained.

Mkwasa also noted that Mwinyi worked hard to ensure that sports opportunities were easily accessible and he wanted to see the sports industry perform well.

Simba’s Technical Director, Juma Mgunda, commended Mwinyi’s leadership and emphasised the need for patience, resilience and truthfulness in society.

“He was a good leader, father and grandfather to this nation, and during his time, sports was among his favourite item as he used to attend different sports events.”

Mgunda recalled a time when he played for the Tanga-based Coastal Union in 1988. During his presidency, Mwinyi attended a match between Coastal Union and African Sports.

On the match day, President Mwinyi seized the opportunity to award both teams that each had won a title: Coastal Union won the Mainland League Cup while African Sports won the Union Cup.

Mgunda noted that Mwinyi was a good leader, father and grandfather to the nation, and sports was one of his favourite things.

George Masatu, a former player for Simba, compared President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s reign in the sports sector to Mwinyi’s, as both have done a lot of good things in that area.

Masatu also shared a story about their final match in the CAF Club Champions in 1993 against Stella Adjamé from Abdijan. After their loss, President Mwinyi gifted each Simba player a saloon car.

“After losing to Stella Adjamé in the final, there were many words about our defeat, at first, we were promised cars by Azim Dewji, that if we win every player would get a car, KIA make, therefore after our defeat, President Mwinyi decided to award each player a Toyota Corolla car,” he explained.

Mwinyi’s passion for sports was evident during his presidency from 1985 to 1995. He recognised the unifying power of sports and actively supported the Tanzanian football scene.

His administration made efforts to bolster football infrastructure, enhance training facilities and create pathways for aspiring footballers to showcase their skills on the national stage.

Under Mwinyi’s watch, Tanzania made significant progress in international football competitions, and the national team, Taifa Stars, experienced moments of glory that resonated with the nation.

Mwinyi’s commitment to sports was not just administrative; he often attended matches and became a familiar face in stadiums across the country.

His presence inspired players and fans alike, fostering a sense of national pride and unity.

 

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