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[January 12, 2014]
National Netball Championship Was a Crying Shame
(AllAfrica Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) THE just ended national netball championship was not only a national disgrace, but also showed why for many years to come, this country will continue to play a minimal role, internationally, as far as sports is concerned! After the government's decision to increase three regions, Tanzania has now 28 regions. But instead of witnessing, during the national netball tournament, teams from all 28 regions, only six regions took part in the tournament! The nine region figure was actually reached after turning Dar es Salaam's districts of Ilala, Kinondoni and Temeke-due to their strength in netball, into three regional (netball wise) regions and it is not surprising that one of the districts, Temeke at the end of the day emerged 'national netball champions!' Of course, the turning of Dar es Salaam's three districts is not a new thing, especially in netball. Even if all regions in the country had brought in their netball teams, Dar es Salaam would have still been represented by three teams due to the development of the game in the city.
Now if six regions and three districts, out of 28 regions, send netball teams in a tournament that is supposed to have a national character; how does one describe the foregoing picture other than a crying national shame? The reason given by the national netball chief, Anna Kibira, for the absence of 22 regions from the tournament was lack of money for financing the 22 plus teams! The question is where did the six regions and three Dar es Salaam districts get the money for financing their players for the national netball tournament? It's important to note that every year, all regions get funds from the central government for running socioeconomic activities in their respective regions, which in my opinion, includes sports development.
And if that is the case, why did 22 regions fail to bring their netball teams to the national netball tournament held in Dar es Salaam recently when they are supposed to have such a budget? Response to the foregoing question is very important because regional development ought to cover all facets, social and economic sectors of the regions which include sports.
Of course, the cost of day to day running of sports like netball, ought be borne by respective sporting association and this is where one requires sports leaders' organising abilities. But the cost of sending and maintaining teams, during their participation in the national sports championships, from football to netball and from boxing to athletics, ought to be contributed by regions-through the respective offices of their regional and district development directors.
Now if that is not being done, then there is something awfully wrong with our budgeting systems which need to be corrected before it is too late! For those who are against the foregoing assertion, consider the following: Our national policies, economic, social - you name it, are cross-cutting in the sense that when ministries of women and children, education and that which is responsible for sports, talks of promoting the girl child, this is not confined to education per se! It includes the girl child's sports development and here comes in netball, athletics and other sports activities! What kind of girl child's development are we talking about in our national policies when sports and in particular, netball is excluded? What kind of national health policy are we talking about when such a policy does not include sports development that excludes the girl child who has been marginalised for a long time? How does this nation expect to get able bodied citizens for undertaking the country's socio-economic development when they are not involved in sports activities which help in keeping their bodies healthy? The government and in particular, private companies have been falling over one another in their quest to sponsor what has arguably remained the sick man of sports in this country, football! And the reason for such immeasurable enthusiasm is not difficult to see! It's in football that some people have managed to use, successfully, as a ladder for elective political posts! Without football they would not have been where they are! It's again through football, due to its mass following, that private companies want to make more bucks! The point is, it's not that they like football, but the money they intend to make from the game! If these private companies want to really contribute to this country's sports development, then they ought to spread their corporate responsibility to other sports that include netball.
And why are ministries responsible for the development of the girl child silent on this day-light discrimination? Where is the so called BRN (big results now), which if you asked me for my opinion, my answer is; it's nothing more than an empty slogan which is not different from past slogans that include siasa ni kilimo, kilimo kwanza and others! Yet another million dollar question is for how long are we going to reduce ourselves to a nation of sloganeering? The other challenge, as far as the development and organisation of netball in the country is concerned, lies with netball leaders in the districts.
These leaders ought to show their organisation abilities by setting up and training netballers from grass-root level. But such netball development cannot take place if districts development directors (who are entrusted with district development budgets) do not make allocation for netball pitches in their respective districts! The same thing can be said about those involved in funding education activities in the districts. They have to ensure that schools in the districts, especially those owned by the government, also have netball pitches! There was a time three years ago when President Jakaya Kikwete, a former basketballer during his school days, visited one of the newly, well built school in the country. While others' attention in the delegation was on the building, the president queried the school authority over the absence of sports infrastructure! That's why I spoke earlier on the cross-cutting nature of our policies which are very good, but our implementers don't seem know what they actually entail when it comes to their implementation.
And we don't know that simply because we have a problem of linking what we say and how we are supposed to put whatever we say in action! For instance, there is nothing wrong with the BRN as long as we link it to all sectors of our socio-economic development! - Attilio Tagalile is a journalist, author and media consultant can be reached at Copyright Tanzania Daily News. Distributed by AllAfrica Global Media (allAfrica.com).
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