17 January 2009

Tanzania: Foreign Coaches Likely to Boost Local Athletes

Arusha — Arusha athletes will benefit immensely if president Jakaya Kikwete considers a request to bring into the country foreign coaches to spearhead an athletics improvement programme.

Athletics Tanzania (AT) has presented its five-year development program to the Government indicating that they need four foreign coaches.

Their request comes follows President Jakaya Kikwete's promise that he would shift his focus from soccer to athletics. Arusha region and Manyara are the source of world class athletes emanating from Tanzania.

According to the AT assistant secretary general, Julius Msomi, the coaches should come from either the United States of America (USA), Cuba or Germany.

He said those countries are athletics superpowers hence their decision to get coaches from there.

Unlike football, athletics is a multiple discipline event, which requires more than one coach, the official said.

However, Msomi did not say how much they had proposed to the Government through the Ministry of Information, Culture and Sports for the whole budget, whose aim is also to prepare Tanzania for the 2010 Commonwealth in India and 2012 London Olympic Games.

The budget covers training and team's participation in various competitive and trial events.

"Our main focus is to prepare our young players for the forthcoming Commonwealth and Olympic games", Msomi told the Citizen.

Tanzania made her maiden appearance in the Olympics games in 1964 but has not won any medal since 1980 when Filbert Bayi and Suleiman Nyambui won silver medals at Moscow Olympics.

Speaking in the parliament last year, the president said that after turning around soccer he would turn his focus on athletics.

Kikwete hired Marcio Maximo with a view of turning around Tanzania's flagging fortunes and he succeeded.

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