ONE of the popular radio stations in Dar on Monday this week, had a lively sports talk- show during which sports journalists-cum-analysts discussed, at length, over whether or not the present TFF President, Wallace Karia should seek re-election. This was quite an exciting debate for me.
For barely two months ago, I had reviewed, in my column, the same subject after Karia had intimated that he wanted to seek re-election. One of Karia’s arguments during the time was that he wanted to complete the work he had already started in the course of his tenure, work he said was not yet over.
My position at the time and continues to; is that he should leave the TFF presidency for other more competent candidates. In my considered views, there is nothing Karia is going to do which he has not done. And that was and continues to be my position.
The sports analysts in the talk-show sports programme in question were understandably divided.
There were those who said compared to past TFF presidents, Karia had performed better and that there were palpable projects he had undertaken which had taken the TFF, as we know it, to another level, hence the need to be given another opportunity at the helm of the TFF.
They mentioned the projects mainly as three; that he had facilitated more youth to join foreign soccer institutions in Europe, sent Taifa Stars to its second Afcon finals and that Tanzania had done better in its last CHAN tournament in Cameroun.
I totally agree with what they said in terms of what Karia had so far done. But in my opinion, Karia’s problem is that he does not seem to listen to advice.
Problem one, since his ascendancy to the TFF’s presidency, he has never provided any national soccer team, including Taifa Stars adequate preparation in terms of quality friendly matches.
Anyone who wants to oppose my assertion, I challenge him or her to show me four foreign teams which were provided to Taifa Stars as part of its preparation for Afcon or Fifa qualifiers.
Now if you cannot provide a team like Taifa Stars even with a minimum of four friendly matches against four different national soccer teams before the team (Taifa Stars) plays its first Afcon or Fifa qualifier, then what business do you have at the TFF?
Any national soccer team under the sun, needs two kind of training before playing any Afcon or Fifa qualifier. One, a short residential training and secondly, and more importantly, trial matches against qualify foreign teams.
Wallace Karia has to date only provided residential training and very, very few trial matches. That is why I have challenged any of his supporters to give me four foreign teams that played against Taifa Stars before the latter played its first qualifier in Afcon or Fifa.
Perhaps the only credit to him is that he has been getting some of the best coaches for Taifa Stars and other national soccer teams.
Unfortunately, he has not assisted the very coaches he had hired by providing them with adequate and quality friendly matches which could have helped the coaches to find out whether or not their players had grasped techniques and tactics they had impacted on the players in the course of their residential training.
In short, Karia has all along been sacking coaches whom he had not provided them with his part of the contract, namely, the provision of adequate and quality friendly matches with which to test whether or not the coach he had hired had succeeded in getting the team in shape.
Conversely, the TFF has been sacking coaches wrongly. Yes, it is wrong to sack a coach without meeting your own part of the contract, namely, the provision of adequate and quality friendly matches for Taifa Stars before it plays its Afcon or Fifa qualifiers.
For instance, I’m strongly convinced that had last year’s CHAN team which had won one match, drawn one and lost one; been provided with at least four quality friendly matches after the end of the Cameroun CHAN tournament, it could have qualified for the Afcon tournament back to back.
But it could not, because one; the same Karia sacked the Burundian coach who had done relatively well (compared to what others had done in the past CHAN soccer tournaments) in the CHAN tournament, secondly he brought in new coach who came up with a completely new team, which was another mistake by none other than Karia, and we know what happened!
Now a TFF President who sacks a coach who has done relatively well in a tournament and brings in a coach who comes up with a new team, and the country ends up failing to qualify for Afcon.
Surely, such a leader does not deserve to seek re-election for the same post he had miserably failed to make good use of. In conclusion, to be fair to Wallace Karia, he has relatively done better than his predecessors.
But it is time we had somebody else who is faster in getting us to the highest level. We have no time to walk while others are running. Under Karia we have repeatedly called for establishment of soccer academies. But as we all know, nothing has been done so far towards that end.