Samia wants excellence in sports

ZANZIBAR: PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan has called upon sports leaders in the country to change so as to allow sports activities to be conducted professionally, profitably and stop expecting to reap what they have not worked for.

The Head of State made the remarks during the luncheon with Council of East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA) U-15 Champions, Zanzibar National Team ‘Karume Boys’ at Tunguu State Lodge in Zanzibar.

The Isles team was crowned the 2023 CECAFA U-15 Championship winners, after defeating the then defending champions, Uganda.

“Sports is a lucrative business. Leaders must change so as to run sports activities professionally. We should stop the expectations of reaping what we have not sown and we should have sustainable plans for youths. Sports councils should continue to coordinate the performance of sports associations and ensure that they are being operated profitably for the benefit of the nation.

“Construction of sports grounds is costly. All the sports grounds and stadiums being built and renovated must be protected and maintained whenever they are damaged, instead of waiting for huge damage, because it will increase renovation costs.

“I was once presented with the cost of renovating the National Stadium and I asked where is the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF), because they are the ones who use the stadium and people are paying for various games. Where is the money? I told them that if they have spent the money, they should look for other funds to renovate the arena,” Samia said.

President Samia awarded Karume Boys 50 m/- as an appreciation for the team winning the championship.

President Samia made the pledge yesterday, adding that some government leaders and sports stakeholders had already pledged 90 m/- for the boys’ success. Thus, for winning CECAFA, the boys will receive 140 m/-.

Karume Boys won the tournament by beating Uganda 4-3 in a penalty shootout after a thrilling 90-minute match ended 1-1 at the FUFA Technical Centre in Njeru, Uganda.

President Samia urged the boys to use the amount they will receive wisely, so as to create a better future. The President thanked the team for their hard work and dedication and wished them all the best in their future endeavours.

“Karume Boys deserve the win and it should not be by chance. Our boys, Coach Mohamed Mrisho and his assistants, as well as the Sports Ministry, deserve congratulations. Apparently, some stakeholders have pledged 90 m/-. I heard only 40 m/- had been handed over. I’ll add 50 m/- to support our boys. My call is for those who pledged to fulfil their promise,” she said.

The Head of State further made a call to sports associations to invest in youth teams and also urged proper management of sports facilities.

“It’s a wake-up call for sports associations to invest in youth development. These boys are the nation’s fortune. If we effectively invest in youths, we will see success,” President Samia said.

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