Missing AFCON finals turns a wake-up call

Missing AFCON finals turns a wake-up call

WATCHING the ongoing 2022 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) without the country’s envoys Taifa Stars should be a wake-up call to football stakeholders to ensure that in the next edition, Tanzania flag should be there.

It is always fascinating to witness big football events of the AFCON status while having your stars from home soil exchanging tackles with other great football players like Mohamed Salah (Egypt), Sadio Mane (Senegal) and many others.

These are among the most decorated players at this year’s AFCON finals as they parade their professional careers in English Premier League (EPL) giants Liverpool where they are highly respected.

As such;, claiming a chance to dine on the same pitch with them is always a memorable experience for players especially those who are yet to reach such great heights to keep believing that if they work hard, they can also make a breakthrough.

However, this year, things are not like that for Tanzanians bearing in mind that there are no Mbwana Samattas, Simon Msuvas, Aishi Manulas, John Boccos and other Taifa Stars players to fight for their nation.

This has not stopped them to watch the unfolding contest in Cameroon as they do it for the passionate love of the game of football which has seen them supporting countries of their choice.

Looking at the performance of some teams which qualified for this year’s AFCON finals, one wonders what went wrong with the country’s flag carriers as they could have easily withstood the tempo and produce tangible results.

Due to this, most Tanzanians are supporting national teams which some of their players trade their professional football in the NBC Premier League and this is what makes the name of Tanzania to be heard by commentators.

Whenever these players who serve the NBC Premier League teams are in possession of the ball or have done anything extraordinary on the pitch or are being introduced, the commentators usually state that they play their professional football in the country.

Yes, this trend alone is something to be applauded bearing in mind that there are many football leagues in different countries in Africa which have hardly deployed player(s) at the ongoing AFCON games.

In a nutshell, one can confidently declare that Tanzania Premier League is one of the best on the continent capable to attract players from all corners in Africa and even beyond due to its popularity.

For instance, Tanzania through its NBC Premier League is being represented by five players who joined their national teams and being featured at the continent’s biggest football showdown.

They are Peter Banda (Malawi), Djigui Diarra (Mali), Prince Dube, Never Tigere and Bruce Kangwa (Zimbabwe) who are in one way or the other promoting football standards in the country at the AFCON finals. Banda is a Simba player and was featured in the starting XI when Malawi played Guinea with many Simba fans impressed by his work rate on the day even though they went down 1-0.

As a result of this, most football fraternity in the country are rallying behind these countries as they want to see how their beloved players are performing at the underway finals.

Because of this curiosity that football fraternity have in the country, concerned stakeholders should begin preparing for the competitive Taifa Stars side to shine at the upcoming AFCON finals and never let this experience of supporting other nations resurface.

The potential is always there, the desire is there and the ability to shine at the next AFCON edition is there as such, proper coordination and making good roadmap on what to do in order to reach there is what is demanded for the time being.

In terms of investment in the national team, to say the truth, government and other stakeholders try their level best to support the team to excel, hence there must be another force somewhere which drag backward efforts to see Taifa Stars making it big on international scene.

Yes, the faster this area is identified, the better it will be for the health of national team success and it is hard to digest that throughout the entire EAC umbrella, only one country Sudan is parading at the progressing AFCON finals.

Efforts should be made to ensure that next term, the EAC bloc produce at least three envoys to compete and aim high to go as far as the semifinals.

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