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Tanzania: Will Tanzania benefit from playing Brazil?

Football fans in Tanzania are eagerly waiting to see FIFA world Cup five times winners Brazil taking on Tanzania national Team on June 7, 2010 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam. The international friendly between the five times world champions and Tanzania national team is part of Brazil’s World Cup preparations before the opening match of the World Cup on June 11th in South Africa.

The match will be broadcasted live in over 160 countries and some anticipate that the 90 minutes attention will promote Tanzania’s image abroad. As well as generating publicity for the country, it will also be a lifetime opportunity for local football fans to see the Brazilians play on Tanzanian soil.

A debate is brewing in the Tanzanian blogosphere over the amount of money involved in the deal and the benefits to Tanzania. Chahali started with a post titled Taifa Stars vs Brazil on Metro But for all the wrong reasons where he pasted a paragraph from the UK Metro saying:

Tanzania Football Federation admits paying several million dollars to persuade brazil to play the Taifa Stars but president Leodgar tenga insists it will be worth every penny

Although Tanzania Football Federation has refused to disclose the amount of money paid to the Brazilians for the opportunity to play in Tanzania, readers in Michuzi’s blog have seized upon the story. ankal kamau who claims to be from Kenya writes:

After reading this piece, “Tanzania Pay Brazil Price” from BBC, I decided to write something for my neighbours Tanzanians. A country in the bottom of the poorest in the world, I was shocked on the rationale and thinking of these people. How could Tanzania pay such a price for Brazil to come and play soccer in Tanzania, while women giving birth are dying in hospitals because they cant get medicine. The could have used the money to modernize their Airport to be the Best in East Africa.

Some readers seem to agree with Ankal Kamau:

Let's be serious, the money is too much, the govt should at least invest in building schools and hospitals rather than bringing Brazil. It's a shame seeing students sitting on the floor in schools while our govt is wasting money…

While Kamau’s post has evoked negative reaction, in another post [SW] readers are more positive about the match citing benefits to Tanzania’s tourism urging the government to seize the opportunity and promote Tanzania:

Kwa upande mwingine, vipi kuhusu utalii. Tafadhali, wahusika (nawanyooshea vidole watu wa Wizara ya Utalii) mtumie hii fursa ipasavyo. Brazil itakuja na wanahabari kutoka kila kona ya dunia.

On the other hand, what about tourism. Please, (I am pointing to those in Tourism Department) use this opportunity accordingly. Brazil will come with journalists from all corners of the world.

Another reader in Ankal Kamau’s post questions the use of tourism promotion to justify the spending:

I'm sick and tired of people using tourism as the justification for such a disgraceful act on the part of our government. We still do not have the basic necessities of water and electricity let alone decent schools and hospitals. Personally I am very disturbed. How are we promoting tourism by hosting the Brazilian football team? Someone please explain the rationale to me. When will we realise that enough is enough and that we are being taken for a ride? Lets wake up guys. Seriously…

Despite local football fans whinging about the highest entrance fee to watch the match on Monday (200,000TShillings, about 140USD while the lowest fee is equivalent to a monthly minimum wage (30,000TShillings, about 21USD), tickets are expected to be sold out as philanthropists, companies and institution have already started to buy giveaway tickets for the fans.

Posting from South Africa Faustine’s Baraza has more world cup related posts in Kiswahili and English here and here.

World Cup 2010 remains one of the main subjects in Vijana FM blog. More posts here [SW] and here [SW].

4 comments

  • Great post, Joe. How many spectators does the stadium hold? How much of their fee might they recoup in ticket sales?

  • I am Tanzanian and really disgusted by this…it’s ridiculous…there is no plausible nor sound justification!

    Eduardo, the stadium holds 60,000.

    and the total figure is $2.5 million USD. Whilst Zimbabwe dished out $1.8 Million, and tickets were $10 for all.

  • Thanks Eduardo… and Kathleen for the figures. It looks like TFF will not lose money but taking into account country’s poverty, health and education stats some claim it is not a good look.

  • Mbwana

    I’ll take the other view here for balance- for the last year leading up to the world cup, I have been hearing “how will African countries take advantage of the world cup?”- the tournament is expected put africa on the spotlight for a once in a liftletime event and tanzania has certainly scored well here- success will only be judged on how much interest the match generates in terms of tourism, investment and many intagible benefits. Sure the money could be spent on food, water, education, healthcare but we all know money is NOT the only thing that is needed generate success in those initiatives- capacity, low corruption amongs other factors can make a donation ineffective- point I am trying to make is that this is not an apple to apple comparison of best use of funds, but what the real objective is here- if it is to make the most of the world cup in africa, Tanzania has done well. Put it another way- we could spend twice that money on Taifa starts team and still not qualify for the world cup and get no recognition but no one would complain.

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