by Philip Richards

The national team “Taifa Stars” ended their World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign with a disappointing 0-2 defeat away in The Gambia, although they had already failed to qualify for the Brazil finals.

At the time of going to press, the “Kilimanjaro Stars” and the “Zanzibar Heroes” are competing in the Council for East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) regional tournament in Nairobi. Interestingly, this is one event where two separate teams can represent the United Republic; normally it is one, because Zanzibar is not a member of FIFA.

With a nod to longer term aspirations, a three-way partnership between the Ministry of Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, the English Premier League side Sunderland FC and the local electricity generator Symbion Power, will see a state of the art football academy set up in Dar es Salaam for elite youngsters. Stewart Hall, who has been coaching top flight local clubs such as Azam FC, has been appointed manager of the complex. The project has the backing of President Kikwete.

The President also welcomed the authentic FIFA World Cup trophy to Tanzania as part of its nine month tour of 88 countries. Speaking at the CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza, where the trophy was on public view, he said that “we owe the world…a big debt….which we and the coming generation should pay at least once in a lifetime, by playing in the World Cup finals and winning the trophy.” (Daily News)

The Tanzanian women’s hockey team made their inaugural appearance in the Africa Hockey Cup of Nations held in Nairobi in November. It was fortuitous that they were there at all, given that they replaced the men’s squad who pulled out due to financial constraints. Although they were soundly beaten by South Africa, who went on to win the compe­tition, the Tanzanian coaching staff were happy with the experience gained during the tournament. (Daily News)

In a similar vein, the Tanzanian women’s volleyball team took part in their first World Cup qualifying tournament in Uganda in October. Despite losing their three games, there were positive benefits from their participation and development plans are in place to improve skills and awareness of the sport.

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