FIFA Ambassador and Ghanaian soccer legend Abeid Ayew 'Pele' has made it clear that there is no country in the world that has won the World Cup or even securing a slot to the finals without having viable grassroot development programmes.
This means that there is no way Tanzania could reach the finals of the world's most celebrated football event without sweating and investing on youth development programmes.
Pele visited the country last weekend alongside the FIFA Development Director for the Southern African countries, Ashford Mamelodi, and the world soccer governing body's Information Department official, Emmanuel Maradas, to inspect development programmes that are financed by FIFA.
The former international and gifted striker urged Tanzania to sustain grassroots soccer development programme should the country dream of qualifying for the African Nations Cup (AFCON) and the World Cup finals in future.
Without mincing words, Pele said soccer lovers in the country should hardly be pessimistic when it comes to their country's chances to take part in both AFCON and World Cup finals but will need to work hard in promoting soccer from the grassroots, apart from doing all they can to sustain the programme.
Yes! This is the truth we must face. It should be remembered that the development of football in any country rest solely on developing young players. And, the development of young players rest solely in the hands of our clubs and their coaches, but the question is begging, do we have these coaches around? It is understood, for instance that the TFF has included youth development as part of its manifesto.
However, this development process should focus on the deficiencies of youth coaches and seek to bring them to an acceptable level of competence. It is important to note that training at the youth level should be age-specific, which would include understanding the physiology and psychology of the different age groups.
We have no doubt that the TFF in their development plan recognises the need for more competent coaches at the youth level, and there is no better time than now to start the process. In so doing, our local coaches will be brought up to standard with coaches around the world.