THE government will soon employ an expatriate coach for the national netball team, Taifa Queens.
This is President Jakaya Kikwete's offer to the Tanzania Amateur Netball Association (Chaneta), THISDAY can reveal.
Sports Director in the Ministry of Information, Culture and Sports Leonard Thadeo told this paper in an exclusive interview last week that President Kikwete has been impressed by Chaneta's efforts to promote netball and has, therefore, offered to hire an expatriate coach for Taifa Queens.
He said the government will pay the coach's salary and allowances as it does for the national soccer team's head coach Marcio Maximo and his assistant Rodrigo Stockler, both from Brazil.
According to Thadeo, the Minister for Information, Culture and Sports, George Mkuchika, has already directed Chaneta's chairperson Anna Bayi to look for a qualified coach for the national team.
“Minister Mkuchika wrote to Chaneta about two weeks ago informing them of President Kikwete's offer and directing them to work on the matter immediately,” Thadeo said.
Bayi confirmed last week that they have received Mkuchika's letter and that they were liaising with the International Federation of Netball Associations (IFNA) based in Birmingham, England to get the suitable candidate.
“We thank the government for the offer. We have already started to search for a competent person to take up the job with the assistance of IFNA and we've so far received many applications from various countries,” she said, falling short of naming them.
She, however, promised to accomplish the task by the end of this month.
Bayi said they would have preferred to engage New Zealand coach Cate Carpenter, who had a month-long stint with Taifa Queens for the Tanzania International Netball Tournament held in Dar es Salaam from September 28 to October 3, last year.
“Unfortunately, Carpenter has been re-appointed by Singapore as their national head coach,” she said.
The New Zealander last coached in that country from 2003 to November 2008 and she guided Singapore to victory in the Asian Championship.
Netball in Tanzania has been riding high since the new leadership came into office in 2008. Bayi and her team have indeed delivered beyond expectations in a very short time.
Their efforts enabled Taifa Queens to gaining their first international ranking last month after 38 years in the waiting.
The ranking followed the national team's good performance in last month's Nations Cup in Singapore as well as the international competition hosted in Dar es Salaam last year which involved Malawi, Uganda, Zambia, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Zimbabwe, Swaziland and hosts Tanzania.
IFNA representative Joan Smith praised Chaneta for organising the tournament, saying it was a welcome move that would see the game improving.
"This is one of our five-year plan of making many local Tanzanians familiarize with netball, they
will learn international rules and other tactics," said Joan.
And as a result of participating in the Nations Cup competition, Tanzania received a welcome boost for their international exposure with an invitation for an overseas training tour to the UK in April 2010.
The Taifa Queens will play a series of matches in Manchester and Scotland.
Chaneta really deserves a pat on the back for these successes and no wonder President Kikwete has decided to reward them by hiring a foreign coach for the national team.
Under Kikwete's initiative, the national soccer, athletics, boxing and judo teams also have foreign coaches.