25 January 2013

Tanzania: Kikwete Hails Blatter Leadership

Zurich — PRESIDENT Jakaya Kikwete is confident that Tanzania will in next few years become soccer giant in the world. He expressed his confidence shortly after visiting football governing body (FIFA) headquarters and held a closed meeting with FIFA officials led by FIFA's President Sepp Blatter.

The closed meeting was also attended by the Minister for Works, John Magufuli and the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) President Leodegar Tenga. Despite admitting that the country hadn't done well in recent times, President Kikwete promised before Blatter that things would change for the better soon.

"I promise in next few years, we'll be soccer giants I'm confident on that," he stressed. He called on Tanzanians to continue supporting the game and invest in football instead of investing in conflicts. President Kikwete showered praises on Blatter for his massive support to Africa and Tanzania in particular, where the World soccer governing body has invested in football development programmes.

"I appreciate your (Blatter's) invitation considering huge soccer fan base in Tanzania and the world at large. And I appreciate your support to Tanzania, we may be the ones who let you down," he stated. He also commended Blatter's leadership for bold decisions of uplifting African football. "It's through his leadership that Africa managed to field five nations in the World Cup.

And it's during his tenure Africa managed to host the World Cup in 2010 in South Africa, it was not an easy decision," said President Kikwete. Asked whether football can bring peace in Africa, President Kikwete said football can definitely bring peace. "I don't want to cite examples here, but there're countries at war but they meet on the pitch and play matches," he explained.

President Kikwete also told the audience that his passion for football was undisputed despite the fact he was once a good basketball player. "I used to play both football and basketball but I later concentrated on the latter because I excelled and I left football to others who were better off," he explained further.

Earlier, Blatter told this newspaper that he was keenly following up African football and that he would be attending the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) finals currently ongoing in South Africa.

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