Zanzibar — ZANZIBAR President, Dr Ali Mohamed Shein, has not cancelled his pledge to award the Zanzibar Heroes players for finishing third at the Senior Challenge Cup in Kampala, Uganda, last month despite the prize money wrangle between some of the players and the football body.
Heroes players unruly divided amongst themselves the 10,000 US dollars awarded to the team for finishing third in the event, ironically they did so without consent or approval of the Zanzibar Football Association (ZFA).
Nevertheless, Shein re-affirmed his pledge to award the players at the Amaan Stadium here on Thursday during the launching of One World Football for Africa campaign, which aimed at raising awareness on the fight against child abuse through soccer. President Shein expressed his disgust over the Heroes players' unruliness but said there was no human mistake in this world which does not merit forgiveness.
"The act demonstrated highest degree of unsportsmanship. I was not happy at all, but since we are human beings and we make mistakes, we can be forgiven if we ask for clemency. My pledge to award them is still intact, when they resolve this case with ZFA, the prize is there for them to pick," he said. He also counselled Heroes players to work harder so that the isles become one among the strongest teams in East and Central Africa, saying they have the qualities to attain that mark.
Earlier, Zanzibar Sports Council (ZSC) Chairperson, Sherry Khamis said the One World Football for Africa project will help deal with the shortage of sports gear especially balls among youth clubs and in so doing, promote football in the isles.
He said the project will cost 800m/- and will benefit more than 330,000 children who are in schools in Unguja and Pemba. Additionally, she said more than 8,800 youths and children in rehabilitation and orphanage centres are expected to benefit from the project. The One World Football Project is responsible for manufacturing, selling and donating the balls and was formally founded as a non-profit organization in July, 2010 - just before the final game of the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Meanwhile, the Mapinduzi Cup soccer tournament reach its climax on Saturday with a final clash to pit defending champions Azam FC and Kenya champions Tusker FC at the Amman Stadium in a match billed to be tough. The Kenyan champions qualified for the finals after a 2-0 win over Zanzibar's Miembeni in the second semi- finals match played on Thursday night.
After a barren first half that was majorly dominated by Tusker, defender Luke Ochieng fired Tusker to the lead with the first goal in the 52nd minute before Jesse Were sealed the win 20 minutes later. Azam qualified after defeating Simba 5-4 in post match penalties, as the two teams drew 2-2 in regulation time with Azam twice forced to come from