18 March 2017

Tanzania: Zanzibar Should Show Their Real Colours Now


Zanzibar is in a jubilant mood. They have got what they craved for, for quite a long time. The Confederation of African Football (CAF) voted on Thursday to admit Zanzibar as a full member of the continental body at its annual meeting in Ethiopia.

The admission has seen Zanzibar as the 55th member of CAF. It is a huge step towards football development in the island, which has always been in the shadow of the Mainland.

Zanzibar's status as an associate of CAF meant its players could play in inter-club tournaments, but were not allowed to compete in the Africa Cup of Nations (Afcon) and African Nations Championship (Chan). The islanders were only sanctioned to field their "national team" in Cecafa tournaments, which did not give their players enough exposure.

Nonetheless, the semi-autonomous island is now eligible for all CAF-organised championships, opening the door wide for its players to experience international football. Besides, the outstanding footballers from Zanzibar will have a chance to play for the national team, Taifa Stars, in World Cup qualifiers.

This really marks a new dawn for the Zanzibar football, thus it is down to the Zanzibar Football Federation (ZFA) to come up with a raft of strategies that will help transform the island's fortunes.

Zanzibar is blessed with an abundance of talents, but most of them do not live to see their full potential.

There are a myriad of factors that impede them. Protracted leadership wrangles are just the tip of the iceberg.

The ZFA has largely failed to implement its development initiatives because of frequent conflicts, some of which contravened Fifa rules that prohibit football matters to be settled in the court of law.

The new development must now serve as a catalyst for growth. We challenge the ZFA leaders to refrain from needless conflicts and focus on lifting the standard of football.

The football-loving family wants to see Zanzibar and, of course, their Mainland brothers as well, become forces to reckon with on the continent.


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