YOUTH football development programme backed by strong leadership at national and clubs level is just one of the important ingredients that help to scout the country’s best talents.
And, the reality that the youth programmes have begun to pay the dividends is, at the moment made crystal clear by Under-17 team, Serengeti Boys qualification into the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals in Gabon.
The team went ahead to qualify for other finals hosted in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania last year, albeit on hosts ticket and this signifies a good trend towards the development of the game of football in the country.
In fact, having the boys going places in the U-17 continental tournament is increasingly becoming a normal good practice, but it goes to better when girls’ category is given impetus to match the boys.
The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) deserves kudos for efforts they are making to develop girls’ football as proven by the girls’ recent performance at the Council for East and Central African Football Association (CECAFA), Under-17 tournament in Uganda.
Tanzania finished second on 11 points behind Uganda, who won the inaugural edition of the CECAFA Under-17 Girls tournament in Jinja late last year after collecting 12 points.
Regardless of the results, the achievement of the Tanzania girls in the tournament is something that must be lauded due to its everlasting effects.
The country has made a notable progress in the women’s and girls’ football as proved by Kilimanjaro Queens, the Mainland football team, which won back to back CECAFA Women Championship before being dethroned by Kenya late last year.
From what we have seen in the just ended U-17 girls’ tournament in Uganda, it is most likely that the majority of the future national team stars will be developed from those who excelled in the tournament.
We feel it is now time to keep and maintain the talented ones so that they become effective to the desired goal. We wouldn’t want to see them dumped and ignored as it has been a case in previous tournaments.
To keep and maintain the talents need collective efforts and massive support, hence the TFF should not be left alone to handle them.
As well, TFF needs to double its efforts and attract the corporate world to begin sponsoring these vulnerable players.
As for women football, it will not be a bad idea to engage prominent people to help them woo more the corporate world to adopt the girls’ football.
For starters, TFF needs to adopt the FIFA mission on women football of “develop the game, touch the world, and build a better future”.