TANZANIA Mainland Football team, Kilimanjaro Stars failed to reach the semifinal stage of this year's Senior Challenge Cup in Machakos, after finishing at the bottom of the table with just a single point.
The team drew once against Libya, but went on to lose all three games to Zanzibar Heroes, Rwanda and Kenya. It was arguably one of the worst performances ever recorded since Tanzania became a member of the Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (CECAFA).
With the dismal performance of the Kilimanjaro Stars in the Senior Challenge Cup, many are of the view that the team lacked patriotism and fighting spirit, not poor coaching as others put it. Prior to their arrival in Kenya, Kilimanjaro Stars, boasting of possessing the region's best players, looked a threatening side, but none of its top stars helped the team to reach its desired goal.
As opposed to their Isles brothers Zanzibar Heroes who advanced to the semifinal stage to become one of the region's top four, Kilimanjaro Stars players looked relaxed as if they were at a training session. We need to learn from our Isles brothers and know what made them look superior to their Mainland compatriots in this year's competition.
Following their 2-1 loss to Zanzibar Heroes, the mainlanders ridiculed their team for losing the game to a team they claimed to be a makeshift outfit. But worth to note, on the two teams' separate results, Zanzibar team was better prepared physically, technically and mentally.
The Isles team coach, Hemed Suleiman Morocco, announced his squad much earlier than the little known Kili Stars coach, Amy Ninje. This can be a very important lesson that not only refers to the Kilimanjaro players, but to all Tanzanians as well, since we are part of the problem that caused Stars failure.
We Mainlanders need to adopt and put the spirit of nationalism and patriotism in our heart and mind, we need to put our continent first, we need to put Tanzania first, and we need to put national pride first. We are one people, with one identity and one goal. We need to work hard for the betterment of football, let us join hands and uphold the dignity of our country.