Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

21 November 2012

Tanzania: Simba, Yanga Urged to Own Stadia

THE government has underscored the need for Mainland Premier League clubs to build their own stadia, instead of heavily depending on government owned venues.

For many years now top flight teams have largely depended on the National Stadium and Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam as well as various other CCM owned venues across the country for their assignment both local and international, a dependency which the government feels was not healthy for the development of football in the country.

In fact, if the government owned Uhuru and National Stadium remained closed for whatever reason, the top flight clubs normally find themselves in a dilemma. And, the Deputy Director of Sports in the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, Juliana Yassoda, stressed on the need for clubs to set up their own venues to relieve the National and Uhuru Stadiums from being overused.

She said this when giving update on the reconstruction of Uhuru Stadium, which closed down two years ago, to pave way for a major repair. The re-construction would see the country's historic and oldest stadium transforming into among the most modern venues.

Yassoda said the re- construction work was at the roofing stage where the contractor is working on the materials needed before the job starts. Upon completion, Yassoda said, Uhuru Stadium will accommodate more that 20,000 fans, presenting yet another challenge for clubs to set up similar venues.

She praised Azam FC who are just six years old but are a well organized outfit, owning a state-of-the art stadium at Chamazi, on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam but wonders what was going wrong with Simba and Yanga with eight decades on, but are still "persons of no fixed abode."

"This is shameful to the respective club leadership and their unfulfilled promises to make things better, instead, they make it even worse. She believes that it is within the capacity of both Simba and Yanga to use their strong fan base and their big names brand as an asset to establish their own stadia.

This could easily be done through a partnership with other big companies or social security funds such as NSSF, PPF, banks, mobile phone companies and even foreign companies. She challenged the two clubs to put their theories of construction of their stadiums into practice and give their fans chance to cheer them in their home grounds.

Yassoda said the premier league clubs should borrow a leaf from several other prominent African clubs like Esperance of Tunisia, South Africa's Mamelodi, Kaizer Chiefs, Orlando and Egyptians Al-Ahly which own modern sports facilities.

Two years ago Simba announced to have contracted a Turkish firm, Petroland Alliance Company, to construct an ultra-modern stadium with the capacity to accommodate 60,000 fans that will serve as their home ground.

The stadium is expected to sit on the 20, 000 square metres club's plot located at Bunju, on the outskirts of the city. The total cost of the stadium has also been reported to be in the range of US 50m dollars which adds up to around 75bn/-.

The firms affirmed that they would construct a shopping mall in the stadium and also an entertainment joint so that they would attract more fans to the stadium to support their team. Yanga also have similar plans, with club chairman Yusuf Manji reportedly planning to set up an ultra modern stadium at the existing Kaunda Stadium, which will have the capacity of 40,000 seated fans and 1,000 car parking lots.

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