Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) – After Tanzania emerged from a devastating strike by medical doctors in public hospitals, the country’s media this week turned their attention to varied issues but Zambia’s victory at the African Cup of Nations in Libreville, Gabon, was the only event that brought them together.
“Zambia played brilliantly, defying all the odds, knocking down pre-tournament favourites including four-time winners Ghana,” said The Guardian daily.
Knowing the background of Zambia’s rough road to the prestigious title might be a good starting point for the Tanzania Football Federation to work out a plan to boost the national team’s performance in African football, the paper said.
“The plan should first focus on strengthening the football infrastructure before throwing all the efforts into the search for corporate sponsorship,” The Guardian suggested.
“It is time the football federation worked hand in glove with responsible authorities in the ministries of lands and sports in ensuring that schools have playgrounds to groom future football stars."
According to the daily, Tanzanian soccer fans cheer and follow premier leagues of other countries particularly the European ones because they were frustrated with the poor show of their home teams in continental tournaments.
On its part, The Citizen remarked: “Our neighbours, Zambians, are now the champions of the African Cup of Nations, an honour we can only dream of. What did they do that we cannot do?”
Still wondering about Zambia’s track record of achievements in continental football competitions, the paper said one interesting record was the number of appearances in the finals, 15 out of 28 finals, while Tanzania had only one to recall.
“Zambians have achieved several records that would take us decades to break, assuming that Zambians and other nations in our region don’t achieve anything substantial in the most prestigious continental tournament. This is more than wishful thinking.
“Frankly, Tanzania has been one of the worst performers in this championship with several withdraws in the 1980s and 1990s.
“The story has been the same in the World Cup qualifying rounds where we have met Zambia once in an attempt to make it to the 1994 finals, but we lost 2-0 in Lusaka before withdrawing.
“We may meet Zambia again in the 2012 Challenge Cup as Cecafa is planning to invite them again. But all in all, the message is clear for us Tanzanians: Our neighbours are far better than us. Seriously, we have to learn something from our neighbours,” The Citizen concluded.
Meanwhile, the government-owned Daily News decided to forget the past and focused on the Confederation of African Football (CAF) Inter-Club Championship that kicks off this weekend.
“The chance to test the resolve of other teams in CAF inter-club competitions is certainly not a new phenomenon for the local clubs – Simba and Young Africans. The two sides have for the past three decades been regulars in all CAF organized club competitions as each has so far made close to 20 appearances,” the paper recalled.
“With the tournaments’ kick-off just around the corner, we believe that our envoys have made adequate preparations to face the challenges ahead.
“Last year all our envoys failed miserably in their respective campaigns and pundits pointed out to poor preparations and extremely weak leagues both in Mainland Tanzania and Zanzibar as the team’s main undoing.
“Local clubs have continued to be the whipping boys in continental tournaments to the disappointment of fans,” said the daily, noting that only Simba Sports Club qualified for the Africa Clubs Championship’s group stage nine years ago.
This weekend Tanzania will parade Young Africans and Simba from the Mainland to play Egypt’s Zamalek in Dar es Salaam and Rwanda’s SC Kiyovu in Kigali respectively.
Young Africans and Zanzibar’s Mafunzo will be battling for honours in the Club Champions League while Simba and Zanzibar’s Jamhuri compete for the Confederation Cup.
Mafunzo and Jamhuri will be at home to take on Muculmano de Maputo of Mozambique and Hwange of Zimbabwe respectively.
Off the football pitches, The Guardian focused on Africa’s riches saying they must be seen as a blessing and not a curse.
“There is no doubt that Africa’s mineral wealth has yet to positively touch the lives of its poor majority,” said the daily, arguing that in most cases this wealth “has been the source of more suffering for the poor, who sometimes face the wrath of their governments when they put up a fight for a share of those resources.”
The paper warned that the intensified rush for the continent’s resources, termed the second scramble for Africa, could end up being another missed opportunity, if there would be no change to the way the mineral resources are managed.
In the paper’s view, it was encouraging that more citizens of the continent were demanding full involvement in deciding how natural resources were disposed of by their governments.
“It will be most helpful for African leaders to listen carefully and quickly adopt measures that will ensure the continent’s resources are properly used to advance their people, if they are truly committed to a more peaceful continent,” the paper suggested.
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