Spanish giants Real Madrid will tour Tanzania in July on President Jakaya Kikwete’s invitation, it has been announced by the government.
This comes after a successful tour of Brazil by Taifa Stars, Tanzania’s national soccer team. This tour will be another plus for the country’s efforts to rebuild soccer. According to BBC reports, the government has said that preparations for the high-profile visit have already started.
Tanzania’s Minister of Information, Culture and Sports, Muhammed Seif Khatib, said Real Madrid have confirmed their visit in a letter to the Tanzanian ambassador in France. The Tanzania government, led by President Kikwete, has undertaken to rebuild the country’s soccer, which has been in decline for over two decades.
“It is time we rebuilt our soccer. Tanzania must compete with the best nations in Africa and this government is committed to achieving this goal,” said President Kikwete months after he took over from Benjamin Mkapa.
His first move was to direct the Tanzania Football Federation to appoint a qualified foreign coach. TFF assented and 42-year old Brazillian Marcio Maximo was employed to coach the national team.
His salary is paid directly by the president. In another indication of its seriousness about rebuilding soccer in the country, the government paid for the national team’s visit to Brazil last February. This followed Maximo’s request for a tour of his home country.
Real’s tour is in line with the president’s stated mission to popularise soccer and take Tanzania to the top. He extended the invitation to Real Madrid when he visited Spain last September.
Real’s visit will be used as part of the celebrations to open Dar es Salaam’s new Olympic standard 60,000-capacity stadium. A match there is also planned to cap the visit.
A planning committee headed by the country’s Sports Council chairman, Colonel Iddi Kipingu, has been formed to oversee the preparations for the visit. Among its members is the president of the Tanzanian Football Federation, Leodegar Tenga. Already, the government has pledged millions of dollars to accord Real, nine-time European soccer champions, top of the range treatment.
According to the government, it will be worth the money because the planned tour will raise the profile of Tanzanian football and inspire many young players. Young Africans, popularly known as Yanga, is one of the teams set to play Real Madrid.
Yanga president Francis Kifukwe told the press that the club will do everything to ensure the game is a success. “This is a great opportunity to build a long-term relationship with one of the world’s leading clubs. It will give our players the chance to play with the world’s best,” said an excited Kifukwe.
Recently, Real Madrid travelled to Egypt and played against giants Al Ahly and were paid a staggering amount.
Meanwhile, the Confederation of African Football (CAF) has increased the entry charges for the lucrative Champions League and Confederations Cup. CAF’s Finance Director Karam Mustapha said last week that entry fees into the tournament had been increased from $240 (USh408,000) to $300 (USh550,000).