Sifa Queens players (C) battle for the ball with Tamisemi in one of the national netball club championship matches at the Tanzania Cigarette Company (TCC) Club grounds in Dar es Salaam last week. Most the teams cheated by fielding hired players. PHOTO/STAFF PHOTOGRAPPHER
THE just ended national netball club championship has turned into a scam with the majority of the teams fielding mercenaries, THISDAY can reveal.
Seventeen teams took part in the week-long tournament, which ended at the Tanzania Cigarette Company (TCC) Club grounds in Dar es Salaam at the weekend.
They were Polisi Dodoma, Polisi Morogoro, Polisi Mbeya, Polisi Mwanza, Tumbaku Morogoro, Dar es Salaam's Maganga and Filbert Bayi Secondary School.
Others were Mapinduzi Dodoma, RAS Lindi, National Service (JKT), Jeshi Stars, Emima, Uhamiaji, Sifa Queens, CMTU, Magereza Morogoro and Tamisemi.
A survey conducted by this paper last week revealed that most of the teams cheated by fielding players they had hired from other clubs.
Only Jeshi Stars, JKT, Filbert Bayi Secondary School and Emima were represented by bona fide players.
It was also discovered that some of the clubs paid a paltry amount of money to the players they hired, thus making a mockery of both the mercenaries and the championship.
“A player is ready to play for a certain club after being paid a few shillings. This not only devalues the player but it also brings the tournament into disrepute,” said a netball fan interviewed at the TCC Club grounds.
These revelations have led to pundits to call for the Tanzania Netball Association (Chaneta) to put in place stringent players' registration rules to make the championship more respectful.
“The situation is very alarming and it really tarnishes netball's reputation,” said one irritated netball analyst, who preferred anonymity.
The tournament, apart from unearthing talent, also picks the country's representatives to regional and international competitions.
“Imagine that a team that relies on mercenaries emerge champions, how will it fare in, say, the East and Central African Club Championship where it can not field mercenaries?” the analyst queried.
Chaneta chairperson Anna Bayi admitted that most of the teams had fielded hired players and that there was need to review the current rules and regulations governing the tournament.
She said prevailing rules allow clubs to rely on hired players, a tendency that may see the country get unworthy champions.
“We have to reverse the trend if we want to spare netball from doom,” said Bayi.
She, however, said the tournament has succeeded in unveiling a good number of talented players, some of whom will be incorporated in the national team, Taifa Queens, currently preparing for the African Championship set for South Africa next month.