President Jakaya Kikwete
The president made the remarks during his address to Parliament here on Thursday, saying the centre, which is being constructed in a joint venture between the government, Symbion Power of US and English Premier League club, Sunderland AFC, is due for completion by September, this year.
?If this centre and others of such nature are well utilised, I?m sure it will be a turnaround of the country?s football fortune, which at the moment keeps on dwindling to the disappointment of many fans across the country,? he said.
Vividly disappointed, the president said the national soccer team, Taifa Stars, need major reforms, saying, his government has always been committed to help them to win, including hiring the services of foreign coaches but little has changed.
The president said when he came to power in 2005, he promised to hire foreign coaches to train local teams and his promises were fulfilled by hiring coaches to train national football, netball and boxing teams.
?Certainly, there were some moments of hope with our national soccer team but it faded very quickly? we need to ask ourselves what is happening and find a lasting solution to this disappointing situation,? he told his audience.
In athletics, Kikwete said the government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation sent a number of athletes last year to New Zealand, Ethiopia and China for an intensive training in preparation for the 2014 Commonwealth Games and other international events.
He said the fourth-phase government made a bold decision to reinstate sports at primary school level (UMITASHUMTA) and Inter-secondary schools Games (UMISSETA), the objective being to identify and develop young talents.
The head of state said the decision has to some extent brought back hopes that within the near future, the country will regain its lost glory in sports. He, however, said he is impressed by the performance of local artists both in film and music industries.
The president said they have made the country proud for crossing borders and in the process promoting the country?s culture and Kiswahili language. He said his government will continue supporting the local artists to improve even further.
By NASONGELYA KILYINGA, Tanzania Daily News