SPORTS associations in the country have been challenged to borrow a leaf from Tanzania Tennis Association (TTA) and invest heavily in youth for the benefit of local sports industry.
Speaking during the launching ceremony of 2013 ITF/CAT East African Junior Championship in Dar es Salaam yesterday, the Deputy Director of Sports in the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, Juliana Yassoda praised TTA for recruiting youths and organising international junior championship.
At least 62 youths from Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Djibouti, Rwanda, Burundi and hosts Tanzania are participating in a weeklong junior tennis championship sponsored by Tanga Cement Company Limited through its famous brand, Simba Cement.
"The government is proud to witness youths competing in this big zonal competition under sponsorship of Simba Cement, but we call other sponsors to join in and leave aside that negative notion of investing a lot to football.
"We are proud to see that TTA, unlike other associations, do not buy 'ready made' players, instead they recruit youths who are now representing Tanzania in this championship," she said. TTA Secretary General, Inger Njau said the zonal event would be used as qulifying test for the ITF/CAT African Championship that will be held in Nairobi, Kenya in March, this year.
"I hope the particiapants will enjoy this event and use it to improve their sports abilility," she told the coaches and players from the seven countries gathered at Dar es Salaam Gymkhana Club (DGC).
The Simba Cement Communication Officer, Mtanga Noor said the company was committed to youth sports and has dished out about 21m/- for the event. "We would like to let Tanzanians know that there are also other sports apart from soccer that are also famous and that is why last year we brought in the country the former world number one tennis player to motivate the youths," said Noor.
The opening matches witnessed Tanzanian Asia Morris beaten by Mariam Mujawimamu from Burundi, while Abduk Kaburu of Burundi was playing againts Halfan Peter from Tanzania. Other matches paired Grace Pancras and Rahabu Shaban both from Tanzania and Diella Syori from Burundi versus Tanzanian Peggy Musuku.