The pledge was made by the Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Bernard Membe, on Wednesday after receiving assessment reports of the country’s participation in the Commonwealth Games held in Glasgow, Scotland from July 23 to August 3, this year.
He said that despite Team Tanzania performing lackadaisically, President Jakaya Kikwete’s government is not crestfallen but will continue to support sports associations in their endeavour to restore the country’s lost glory.
Suffice to say that for a long time now Tanzania has not been doing well in the international sports arena and has failed to win medals in such big competitions as the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, FIFA World Cup, Africa Cup of Nations, IAAF and AIBA World Championships.
This prompted the government, through a ‘Sports Diplomacy’ initiated by the ministries of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as well as Information, Youth, Culture and Sports, to take full responsibility of preparing Team Tanzania for this year’s Club Games by sending athletes to China, Ethiopia, New Zealand and Turkey for intensive, scientific training.
However, the team fared miserably in Glasgow and returned home empty handed, but, according to Membe, President Kikwete said the result should not break our hearts and there is no returning back.
What’s more important is that the government has said it will continue to lend its support. It has already promised sports associations and athletes that it will support their preparations for the forthcoming 11th All Africa Games scheduled to take place in Congo Brazzaville next year.
We commend the government for taking such a stance as national sports associations and clubs have for quite some time now complained of financial constraints and neglect when preparing their teams for international tournaments.
It’s true that the government once used to provide sports associations with subventions, which were later stopped for no apparent reasons, thus forcing them to be self-reliant.
But most of the associations have no means of raising funds and perpetually depend on alms and donations from well-wishers which are not sufficient to meet their demands.
As a result, Tanzania teams, which were once forces to reckon with and made the country proud, are now a pale shadow of themselves and have been reduced to ladders for other nations to easily climb to stardom.
While applauding the government, we would also like to remind the associations and athletes that they are required to fully undertake their responsibilities and supplement government efforts by drawing sustainable development programmes and implementing them.