MINISTER for Information, Culture, Arts and Sports, Harrison Mwakyembe has expressed its dismay, following failure by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) leadership to honour a meeting with him yesterday.
Minister Mwakyembe, who was riled by the TFF top brass, said the meeting aimed at discussing several issues related to football development in the country.
Among others, the meeting was meant to discuss a report on the national team, Taifa Stars participation in 2019 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON), finals in Egypt.
The sacking of Stars Head Coach Nigerian, Emmanuel Amunike and number of foreign players allowed to participate in the Mainland Premier League.
However, in a surprising turn of events, the Federation officials went AWOL, a move that vividly annoyed the minister, who described it’s as an act of disobedience and indiscipline.
Regardless, the minister said he will be patient and set July 24th this year, as another date for the meeting, warning that any failure this time will attract stiff punishment from the government.
Minister Mwakyembe insisted that he is not against the TFF decision to sack Amunike, but he wanted to know the way forward after the departure of the former Nigerian international.
“We have several pressing issues to discuss … we wanted to know the way forward after sacking Amunike (Emmanuel).
We also want to know from them (TFF), if there is something positive they have learnt from the AFON finals in Egypt for the country to adopt and succeed in the future,” he said, while also hinting that the TFF owes the Nigerian three months salary.
Last Saturday, Minister Mwakyembe had told reporters in Dar es Salaam that he had confidence in coach Amunike, saying the Nigerian legend would deliver if given time.
His message came shortly after he had a meeting with the Nigerian on the same day. However, just two days later, the federation parted ways with Amunike, who under his reign Stars have played ten competitive matches, they have won two, drew two and lost six of them.
When reached for comments yesterday, TFF General Secretary, Wilfred Kidao said they failed to honour the meeting because they had other pressing matters and tight schedule in office.
“We are really sorry for this mess but it has been a tight day. We had to respond to inspectors from the World soccer governing body FIFA, who will be around today (yesterday) and tomorrow (today).
Kidao said initially, the meeting with Minister Mwakyembe was set for Tuesday. But it had to be rescheduled to pave way for both parties to attend and pay their last respect to five Azam TV Group Media staff, who died in a motor vehicle accident at Kizonzo, on the border of Igunga (Tabora) and Shelui (Singida) on Monday.
Kidao also said that they had already set an appointment with officials of the Dodoma based Fountain Academy to sign a contract that will enable the academy to be in charge of the national U nder-13, U -15 and U -17 teams.
Speaking after signing the deal, TFF V ice-President Athumani Nyamlani said all players who have been selected in the respective age category teams, will get bursary at the academy, where they will have formal education and football training.
He said TFF will be providing expert trainers and kits. Fountain Gate Academy Director, Japhet Makau thanked TFF, saying they are ready for the task ahead to nature the young talents.