Friday, August 12, 2011

Invest in sports - MPs demand

Tanzania Daily News, ABDALLAH MSUYA in Dodoma, 11th August 2011

TANZANIA would continue performing miserably in the international scene if the government will not invest substantially in the sports sector, Members of Parliament (MPs) said in the National Assembly here on Thursday.

Debating on the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports 2011/2012 budget estimates, Mohamed Seif Khatib (Uzini- CCM), said there was no shot-cut to success and called for massive investment on youth sports and expertise.

“The government must invest heavily on sports for the country to record success internationally. We need to invest on all sports, we should invest on stadia, sports academies and expertise, otherwise we’ll continue to be the mad man’s head,” said Khatib.

“We have not qualified for African Cup of Nations since 1980 and we have never been in the World Cup, we should ask ourselves why? Everyone is talking about Simba and Yanga... football is not only about Simba and Yanga, let’s abandon these politics about Simba and Yanga and move forward,” he urged.

Khatib noted that Tanzanians were being upset by poor performances fashioned by local teams in various tournaments and said it was high time the ministry responsible for sports in collaboration with associations devised plans to end the misfortune.

Khatib, who is former boss of the ministry, challenged football clubs in the country to establish and invest on soccer academies as well, while identifying army, parastatals, schools and colleges as potential areas where young talent could be tapped and nurtured.

He called upon the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) to formulate a special body that will be mandated with the running of youth leagues in the country.

Khatib further challenged the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, under Emmanuel Nchimbi to draw a leaf from Kenya and Ethiopia’s athletics supremacy, a point that was further stressed by Singida West - CCM Legislator Mohamed Misanga.

Misanga said it was unfortunate that the minister said during questions and answer session some weeks ago that Tanzania has no intention at present to seek assistance from Kenya to perk up athletics in the country.

He suggested that there was no harm to get tit bits from the Kenya and Ethiopia to support ailing athletics standard in Tanzania. Both Kenya and Ethiopia have made several achievements in athletics with international acclaimed sprinters who have made the country proud.

Kombo Khamis Kombo (Mgogoni- CUF) said the 18.5bn/- budget estimates tabled by Nchimbi in the National Assembly yesterday showed little in government’s efforts to transform sports sector in the country.

“With this amount we cannot go anywhere in sports,” he said, adding that the government and sports bodies should ensure that foreign experts who are coming to work in the country pass their knowledge to locals so that when the former’s contracts expire, the latter could take over.

“We’re using a lot of money in importing foreign experts while we have our own good trainers, let’s train our coaches,” he said. Esther Bulaya (Special Seats- CCM ) expressed concerns over poor treatment offered to the national women’s soccer team, Twiga Stars, saying the ladies should be given due recognition and taken care as same as their male counterparts, Taifa Stars.

“Twiga Stars will be representing the country in the All Africa Games in Mozambique in September, but it is very depressing that this team has been preparing under miserable conditions and its players, who have won the country a lot of honour, are hardly taken care of as it is the case for their male counterparts,” said Bulaya, who accused TFF of giving little attention to the team and women football as a whole.

Meanwhile, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Community Development urged the government to allocate special funds for national teams due to take part in various international competitions instead of relying on sponsors.

Presenting the committee’s statement, vice-chairperson Juma Nkamia challenged the government to fast-track the completion of the construction of phase two of the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

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