DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania has to sustain grassroots soccer development in order to qualify for the African Nations Cup and the World Cup.
Abedi Ayew 'Pele' the Ghanain soccer legend said this while inspecting FIFA-sponsored youth development projects.
Pele, the three-time African footballer of the year, said that Tanzanians should not be pessimistic that their team will never qualify for the AFCON and the world cup instead more effort is needed.
He appreciated the standard showed by the National under 17 soccer team program supervised by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) saying that they are endowed with talent and could scale great heights if they worked hard.
Pele urged the youth national team players to work hard and qualify for the African Youth Championships due in Algeria next year.
"There are no shortcuts to success. Players with talent need to work hard so as to perform at the very top level. Without hard work, and commitment you cannot succeed," Pele said.
Setting an example he said that Ghana is a powerhouse because it started a fullproof youth programme and it took many years for the project to yield fruit.
"If Ghana can identify the talented players and maintain the crop for years why can't Tanzania?" he asked.
He said for the three days he was in the country, he saw a lot of gifted players who need appropriate training to turn the nation's fortune in football.
FIFA Development Director for the Southern African Countries, Mr. Ashford Mamelodi who was with Pele during the visit said that, stability in the TFF leadership and domestic soccer has been so far the biggest attraction to FIFA.
Mamelodi said that FIFA will keep financing development programs in Tanzania if the stability is maintained. The fourth phase of the FIFA Goal Project will involve the renovation of the Nyamagana Stadium in Mwanza.