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After massive 225bn/- deal, now we need quality pitches

LAST week, Tanzania witnessed the massive investment pumped in TV Broadcasting rights of the Mainland Premier League matches worth 225.6bn/- for a period of ten years from Azam Media Limited.

Azam Media Limited renewed the deal with the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) and the Tanzania Premier League Board (TPLB). Azam TV will continue to beam live the top flight league matches for the next ten years, thereby, giving opportunity to sports stakeholders within and outside the country, to enjoy the country’s top flight.

It was noted that the 225.6bn/- will also benefit the government through the Value Added Tax (VAT), as Azam Media Limited will pay a sum of 34.4bn/-.

According to the breakdown, from next season, Azam Media will dish out 12bn/-, while teams participating in the league will receive 8bn/-, another allocation will go to football development, TFF and TPLB running costs. The funds will increase each season and the final season of the contract that is 2030/2031, Azam will release 28bn/-.

This is surely the level of investment that the country needs in order to push further, development of football, because aside from offering entertainment, it is also a good source of employment. Kudos should go to Azam Media Limited for putting such huge amount of money, which will certainly transform the country’s football scene.

It is now the responsibility of everybody involved in sports especially football, to make sure that the intended beneficiaries of the massive investment are getting whatever is meant for them, in order to attain the desirable results. In a nutshell, this is a landmark deal.

There has always been urgency calls for improvement of the league in terms of investment, promotion and sponsorship. The basis of such calls was to make the league highly competitive and produce quality players of the global level calibre.

Indeed, investment, promotion and sponsorship are the key for the league to be competitive and this is why, the TFF and TPLB have always been striving to seek partners to support the league.

However, the country is still facing infrastructure challenges when it comes to sports especially football, as most of the league hosting venues lack the desirable pitches to feel the real sense of how beautiful the game of football is. This has been a long time setback no wonder this season, the TPLB through enforcing club licensing; they suspended a number of venues for being substandard.

All these shows that there is a strong need to seek another potential investor, who will be willing to take the initiative of upgrading the playing fields (pitches) to make them playable throughout the season and for many years to come.

The advancement of technology has really made life easier considering the fact that nowadays, there are artificial turfs, which are capable to last for long period and enable football matches to be played at convenient places.

Keeping natural grass to the best levels like the one at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam is indeed very expensive that is why the idea of artificial grass was introduced to relieve the burden. The quality of watching live football games depend on the nature of the venue itself that is why a match beamed at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium looks much better than the one played at other venues, which are practically of poor quality.

Taking South Africa as a case study, their league is one of the best on the continent because they have good football infrastructures and you can hardly hear a league hosting venue suspended for failure to meet set up standards. It would be wise one day, to see government deploying some experts in sports infrastructure to see how countries like South Africa excelled to have good pitches in different parts of their country.

Here, government steps in because they are the ones controlling many sports venues scattered across the country. This does not necessary mean that Tanzania should build big stadiums like they have in South Africa but, a simple schooling on how they keep the pitches would be enough to start with.

Indeed, until the country installs friendly playable pitches, one can confidently stand tall and say YES, We have made it in football! Going back to the main subject, Azam Media Limited have simply played their part of broadcasting live the league matches and another investor should come aboard to only concentrate on upgrading the playing arenas.

As they say Rome was not built in a day, even here the issue of seeing the top flight league unfolding on poor venues will one day be history and then is when real football competition will be witnessed.

AS eager spectators poured in, the scenery ...


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