THE Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) President Leodegar Tenga has promised to fight for the rights of the East African region when he takes his new post of executive committee member of the continental soccer governing body, CAF.
Tenga, who is also the chairman of the Council of East and Central African Football Associations (CECAFA), said the new post puts him in a better position to champion for the development of the region's soccer standard and he will do his utmost to realize the plan.
He beat Rwanda's Celestine Musabyimana to the post of the CAF executive committee member for the Central-East Zone during the body's 33rd Ordinary General Assembly held in Khartoum, Sudan last month.
"My main motive behind contesting for the post was the need to represent our zone in CAF. When we (East African football officials) talked to our counterparts from the rest of the continent, we discovered that their top officials are in the CAF executive committee thus we felt it was better our region had a representative too," said Tenga.
"One of the most important tasks ahead is the improvement of the East African soccer body, CECAFA. We also need to foster better relationship with our fellows from North, South and West to ensure we meet our targets," he added.
Tenga said problems facing the East African region's soccer hardly differ from the ones found in the rest of the continent and, for that matter; the way out of the problems rests on the need for CECAFA members to devise better strategies to improve regional soccer.
"The biggest problem in the East African region's soccer is lack of investment in youth. We have to boost the level of investment in the mentioned field, apart from encouraging better cooperation with the rest of the zones' soccer governing bodies in the continent and exchange ideas, a move that could prove useful to us," he said.
"Some of our fellow African countries have made great strides in soccer because they have plenty of professional players in top flight leagues in Europe but, in fact, they do encounter the same problems we have in their respective domestic soccer," he added.
He thanked TFF, domestic soccer stakeholders and the rest of the CECAFA members saying their unwavering support helped him win the CAF executive committee membership.
"TFF, as a matter of fact, proposed my name during the CAF polls, so, I thank the former for promoting my leadership qualities and eventually help me win the new post," he said.
He further hinted that he is planning to contest for the second term in November this year and step down thereafter so that other football officials in the East African region could as well contest for the position. "I have no plan whatsoever to cling to the position.
I believe our region has plenty of officials with the ability to successfully represent us in CAF therefore, I have planned to contest for the second term in November and step down thereafter," said Tenga.