PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete has pointed a finger at the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) fragile leadership as the main factor that curtails the development of the sport in the country.
He said the TFF and local football club leaders need regular training on leadership skills for the country to attain success in the sport. The president further opened up, saying he has given up paying salaries of the national team coaches due to off-putting leadership mess at the TFF.
Kikwete made this remarks when he met with senior officials from English Premier League club Sunderland AFC at the State House in Dar es Salaam yesterday, to discuss on investment opportunities in the country.
Sunderland has revealed plans to invest in Tanzania in a bid to promote the country's business opportunities and foster football development. And, in this drive TFF and local clubs especially those featuring in the top flight football are widely expected to be engaged.
However, the president was critical on the TFF and club leaders, saying they have failed to come up and implement workable strategic football development plans, which must focus on youth programmes. He warned that such tendency might discourage potential investors, yearning to tap on Tanzanian market in the sector.
"Leadership that cannot plan properly remains as a major let down to football development in the country," he said, adding that the lack of top talent was becoming ever more pronounced due to leadership shortcomings.
For, instance, Kikwete said, club leaders have always failed to come up with a new concept for producing young players, as a results top clubs have regularly found themselves entangled in a war of stealing old guards from each other, instead of developing a crop of new quality players from the youth system (academies), who could easily be promoted to the ranks of senior team.
He requested the Sunderland AFC management to consider organizing a leadership seminar especially for the TFF leaders, who he believes must stay abreast with the fast development changes in football management. "We need visionary leadership in football clubs and associations," he said.
He believes that the trickle down effect from a well trained TFF management will help transform the country's football to the higher standard. Looking at Simba SC Chairman, Ismail Aden Rage, who also attended the occasion, president Kikwete criticized local clubs, saying that they were not doing enough.
He said it's time club leaders understand that fostering talents was not only good for match results but was equally good for the balance sheet and for the brand. Regardless, Kikwete thanked Sunderland officials for earmarking Tanzania as their investment destination.
"I believe in this programme, we'll unearth great talents...get new Didier Drogbas from Tanzania," he said. Sunderland Director of Marketing, Farnan Michael John said: "The objective is clear, we've come to invest on developing talented children who will go on to play football at the highest level."
They also aim at promoting Tanzania as a unique tourist destination and make the country a training destination for English Premier League clubs. In fact, Sunderland management was looking to travel to Tanzania during pre-season 2013/14 and promote the tour extensively.
Sunderland official were wooed to come to invest in the country after watching Tanzania's tourist adverts which are displayed in various stadia, during the English Premier League matches, including Sunderland's home venue, the Stadium of Light.
Meanwhile, the TFF president, Leodegar Tenga has issued a next year's general assembly notice to members. Tenga said the notice is meant to notify the members that the general assembly, which will culminate with general elections, will be held in Dar es Salaam on February 23 and 24 next year.
He said the general elections agenda has been forwarded to the TFF Elections Committee for further actions. "The notice has been served to all general assembly members from the regional associations, affiliates, TFF executive committee members and premier league clubs," he said. Tenga said the assembly agenda will be sent to the member's, 15-days before the meeting.