Money Not Working for Tanzania’s Football

Published on 29th April 2008

Members of the Yanga Football Club
In the 1990s, if leaders of soccer teams would have been asked to state the major challenge they were facing in the advancement of the game, their reply would be: money.

 

Why are you not training upcoming youths interested in soccer? Lack of money. Why are you not seeking professional advice? Lack of money. Why don’t you have your own playground? Lack of money. Why can’t you participate in the national challenge cup? Lack of money.

 

Lack of money seemed to be the biggest problem in the soccer sector. Team managers propagated this message with zeal until everyone thought along similar lines.But is lack of money the biggest challenge in Tanzanian soccer?

 

Take Yanga football club for example. The ‘lack of money’ chorus was its perpetual excuse when asked to explain its poor performance. This was the case until Yusuf Manji of Quality Group Ltd came to its rescue. Manji has gone to great lengths –even using his personal money to modernize the team and meet its needs. It is Manji’s desire to see the team become competitive not only in Tanzania, but also in Africa.

 

However, with Manji’s money, how is the team performing? It is sinking deeper into incompetence. It hasn’t even laid sustainability strategies to see it through should Manji decide to pull out. Instead of establishing a pool of young talent from which to draw from across the country, the team is using millions of Tanzania shillings to hire players (such as Laurent Kabanda) from other countries. Should soccer managers be laying strategies to nurture local talent or ignoring them and spending millions of shillings on foreign players?

 

Tanzanians love soccer. They would love to see the game established. They would like to see leagues that will culminate into the national challenge cup. They would like to see the soccer potential of youths harnessed. Sponsors are willing to step in. Incentives are available- but with all this goodwill, where is Tanzania’s soccer heading? Why is it dying a natural death? Does it think investors will invest in a bottomless pit?

 

We have stopped thinking and put our focus on money- thinking that big money is the solution to our soccer problems. Look at how the Yanga football club under Imani Madege and Tanzania Football Federation under Leodeger Tenga are fairing. It clearly shows that money without startegic thinking will not take us anywhere.

 

Another club, the Simba team, is looking forward to the day when a sponsor (such as Manji) shall also give them money. The question is, what strategies do they have on board to be competitive? Do they also think money will automatically transform them into a high performing team? Can’t they learn from the Yanga experience?

 

Money is not enough. How many Tanzanian teams are crippled in spite of having money? Money minus proper planning and strategic thinking will not make us any better. Let us concentrate on strategic thinking before craving for money. Tanzania needs thinkers who will push football teams to the next level. If learned people like Imani Madega and  Yusuf Manji can’t grasp this –who else will?

 


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