The Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) has planned to conduct drug tests for all Mainland Premier League and senior national soccer team, Taifa Stars, players.
TFF President, Leodegar Tenga, said the body will come up with the procedure, adding that any player that will be found guilty of using either performance enhancing drugs or other banned substances stands to be punished accordingly.
He said there have been reports that a section of domestic players regularly use the drugs, particularly bhang, but there have not been evidences and most of the soccer officials have been speaking of the matter.
“We have heard that some of our players are using the drugs but we have not got evidences and some of the officials also talk of the issue, but we have not investigated the matter thoroughly. We are ordering the clubs to investigate the matter and if possible, efforts should be done to get counsellors to talk to the players and explain the effects of drug abuse to the latter,” he said.
“We will not speak to anybody. Players will be picked randomly and undergo the tests and could receive severe punishment should they be found guilty. We will go as far as including the procedure in the Mainland Premier League regulations…it will be done in the league’s clubs and the national teams,” he added.
Tenga said there is a need to educate players on the effects of drug abuse prior to putting the drug test to work.“Before starting the procedure, clubs’ officials will need to employ counsellors explain the effects to drug abuse to the players, so, we will start educating them on the matter and later will conduct the tests,” he said.
There have, for years, been claims that a section of domestic soccer players regularly use banned substances particularly bhang and a few of them have even been consuming narcotics.A section of soccer players and officials have at times admitted that ‘marijuana’ smoking among some of the players has been rampant.
Meanwhile, Tenga has blasted some of the Mainland Premier League clubs for splashing their cash on foreign players whilst ignoring talented domestic players, who have been doing better than their foreign counterparts.
The TFF boss said the clubs have not been restricted from recruiting foreign players, but it is better the domestic talents were given priority.
Although Tenga did not mention specific clubs that are said to be embracing foreign players, his statement looks to have been directed to the country’s soccer giants, Simba and Yanga, which have, time and again, been recruiting foreign players, with most of them failing to live up to expectations.
Simba and Yanga were recently involved in an intense battle for the signature of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s St Eloi Lupopo defender, Mbuyu Twite, who had been on loan to Rwandan champions, APR.Simba had earlier talked to the player and the two parties struck a deal but Yanga then outsmarted Simba by offering Twite a much higher pay, a situation that prompted the defender to return Simba’s cash and sign for Yanga.
“We do not restrict clubs from recruiting foreign players because the latter’s presence bolsters competitiveness but the players should first be the best and besides, talented domestic players should be given priority. We have players like Bahanunzi (Saidi), Bocco (John), Erasto Nyoni, Kapombe (Shomari)…all of them are talented domestic players and they have been doing very well,” he said.
“My advice to clubs’ officials is that we should not entertain politics when it comes to recruiting players. A tendency by clubs’ officials to win members and fans’ affection by recruiting foreign players will hardly be of help to the clubs… as player registration’ procedures stipulate, the whole exercise is left to the technical bench.”
Tenga also congratulated domestic clubs that conducted their respective general meetings peaceful, adding that the move is a sure sign of progress in the domestic soccer.He further showered praises on the performance displayed by Tanzanian clubs in this year’s East and Central African Club Championship, Kagame Cup, in which Yanga emerged champions.