Samia rewards brave Stars

DAR ES SALAAM: THE national men’s football team, Taifa Stars, received 10m/- from President Samia Suluhu Hassan following their 1-0 win over Niger in Saturday’s Group E match at the FIFA World Cup Africa qualifiers.

The money was handed over by Gerson Msigwa, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Arts, Culture and Sports, on behalf of President Samia and was received by Taifa Stars skipper, Mbwana Samatta.

Apart from issuing the sum to the national team, Msigwa also informed the public that the Head of State has paid for round stadium seats for tomorrow’s game against Morocco in Dar es Salaam.

Stars host Morocco in their second match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup Africa qualifiers with heads up looking to register a successive win to accumulate 6 points in two matches, hence, a need to have a full stadium.

Likewise, President Samia fulfilled the pledge she made of buying each goal that Taifa Stars scores for 10m/- which is applicable only to the games that the envoys will be winning.

Presenting the amount to the team’s captain, Mbwana Samatta at Julius Nyerere International Airport (JNIA) in Dar es Salaam on Sunday was the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Culture, Arts and Sports Garson Msigwa.

“I am here on behalf of President Samia to award you 10m/- for winning your game against Niger and this is the fulfilment of her pledge to buy each goal that you score and win.

The president wishes you the best of luck in your next game versus Morocco. Play hard in order to win the match and increase your chances of qualifying for the World Cup finals.

“This is just a motivation for you. The Head of State said she is going to be the 12th player in your next game though she will not attend in person,” Msigwa said.

He added: “We have decided to call it ‘Operation Samia World Cup’ which began on Saturday and we want to win on Tuesday and in all our upcoming fixtures.”

“Go and fight on the pitch knowing that on your shoulders, you are carrying 62 million Tanzanians,” Msigwa insisted while revealing that President Samia will buy tickets for round stadium seats at the 60,000-capacity Stadium for the Morocco clash.

In his remarks on behalf of the players, Samatta thanked President Samia for the reward plus her gesture of providing direct flights to and from Morocco.

“I can say that she contributed 50 per cent of the victory in our game against Niger because we travelled with ease and each player was happy… I wonder how it could have been if we travelled on a business flight,” Samatta said.

He also used the platform to call on supporters to descend in big numbers at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium on Tuesday to back them up as they aim to produce another win in the qualifiers.

Also, the Minister for Culture, Arts and Sports Damas Ndumbaro invited more people to the stadium in order to help the flag carriers record another important triumph.

“I request Tanzanians to come in big numbers and support our team from the first whistle to the last one. Together, we can achieve our intended goals of qualifying for the World Cup,” Ndumbaro said.

Similarly, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) president Wallace Karia noted that President Samia’s vision of facilitating sports tourism is now being seen as currently, national football teams from five countries are using Benjamin Mkapa Stadium as the base for their world cup qualifiers.

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