DEPUTY Minister of State in the President’s Office (Regional Administration and Local Government), Suleiman Jaffo has commended cold drink beverage company, Coca-Cola Tanzania, for investing in Inter-Secondary School Games (UMISSETA) urging other companies to emulate from the beverage company.
The deputy minister made the remark while opening a one-day seminar for secondary school regional sports officials from across Tanzania that was held in Dodoma over the weekend.
The seminar marks the preparations of Coca-Cola sponsored UMISSETA Games 2017 due next month.
“Coca-Cola has agreed to sponsor UMISSETA Games from 2016 to 2018 by bankrolling food expenses worth 50m/- during the competitions every year, they will also provide water and distribute sports gears to all secondary schools which is quite generous and we are grateful for their enormous contribution,” said Jaffo.
The deputy minister added that Coca-Cola has set a good example by investing in the inter-secondary school games, saying the competitions are the foundation of molding future reputable athletes.
“We tend to be surprised by the poor performance of our national teams, but the main reason is that we lack investment in the sector and to succeed in sports, investment should start at the early stages and that’s in schools when athletes are still young,” he said.
He noted that many successful Tanzanian athletes such as Mbwana Samatta and Hashim Thabit who are representing Tanzania well abroad, are a product of UMISSETA Games.
“I urge other companies and stakeholders to give school sports the priority they deserve, like what Coca-Cola has been doing because once we set a good foundation for young athletes, then they are likely to succeed in the future,” said Jaffo, pledging that his ministry will give Coca-Cola all the support they might need.
For her part, Coca- Cola representative, Pamela Lugenge said her company has always been keen on investing in youth sports as they believe that athletes need a good foundation to succeed.
“We believe in investing in the youth especially through sports, that is why we introduced Copa Coca-Cola a few years back as well as Sprite Baller and now UMISSETA of which we are proud of because through UMISSETA competitions we will be able to reach more students from across all secondary schools of Tanzania,” said Lugenge.
She thanked the government through the Regional Administration and Local Government ministry and the ministry of Information, Culture, Arts and Sport as well as the National Sports Council of Tanzania for supporting Coca-Cola’s initiatives as they prepare for the launch of 2017 UMISSETA games.
Closing the seminar, Deputy Minister of Information, Culture, Arts and Sports Anastazia Wambura said her ministry will value Coca-Cola’s contribution by providing all the support needed to ensure the success of the competitions.
She called on sports associations to use the database of UMISSETA competitions when selecting national teams. “Five of our under- 17 national team players known as Serengeti boys who have just recently left for Gabon to represent Tanzania are a product of UMISSETA games,” said Wambura.
She mentioned the five Serengeti Boys players as Cyprian Benedicto, Israel Patrick Mwenda, Ali Hamis Ngazi, Kelvin Nasho and Mihidi Ali Makame.
In attendance at the seminar were regional sports officials from all regions of Tanzania, secondary schools’ sports teachers, a representative from Zanzibar’s ministry of Information, Culture, Tourism and Sports, officials from the Regional Administration and Local Government ministry as well as Coca-Cola officials.
Coca-Cola is scheduled to conduct similar seminars in other three regions prior to the official launch of UMISSETA.