Tanzania’s High Commissioner to the UK, His Excellency Peter Kallaghe visited London’s West Ham football club and held talks with new Marketing Director, Angus Kinnear, last Tuesday.
Speaking exclusively to Tanzania Sports, Hon Kallaghe expressed his satisfaction with the visit saying it was significant because of two reasons. First, because Mr Kinnear has previously been to Tanzania where he fondly observed interest of the majority of the population in English premiership matches.
Secondly, a possibility of a premiership club going to Tanzania in the near future.
Mr Angus Kinnear’s track record is solid. Prior to his West Ham appointment, he was senior marketing manager at Arsenal for six years and senior marketing director for three years respectively, since 2004. It was during this period that he made the trip to Dar es Salaam and “recounted a powerful story about the way Tanzanian fans follow Arsenal’s good fortunes,” Ambassador Kallaghe said.
His experiences have been fruitful in lifting the spirits of West Ham and meeting with him
Mr Kinnear explained how he was very impressed with Tanzanians and their interest and knowledge of the Premiership. He said while in Tanzania he had met a young Tanzanian Arsenal fan who could mention by heart all of the members of four different seasons teams of the club and was amazed at the level of knowledge about the club.
It should be noted that this is not the first time the Tanzanian envoy has made a trip to an English club. He is very aware that there is a need to improve football in Tanzania. He is equally conscious of his presence in a country with the most known, commercial and busiest soccer competition in the world. It is here where, football as an organised sport originated and was improved.
With his very busy schedule, Ambassador Kallaghe has on a number of times toured gigantic established clubs such as Manchester United (Old Trafford), Everton (Goodison Park), Queens Park Rangers,( known as QPR in White City, London), Aston Villa Park ( in the Midlands), Birmingham City, current premier ship title contenders, Manchester City, Liverpool and Sunderland FC.
The Sunderland FC connection bore the most positive results. In June 2013 President Jakaya Kikwete was invited to the main Stadium of Light and Academy of Light where youngsters are coached. President Kikwete led a strong national delegation that included Minister of Sports, Ms Fenella Mukangara and Ambassador Kallaghe himself. The important trip sealed a deal whereby Sunderland FC will build academies in Tanzania to help improve skills of our youths.
Speaking during the historic occasion, club chairman, Ellis Short said: “We are delighted to welcome Tanzania to the Sunderland family, further enhancing our club’s relationship with the African continent.”
I have met Ambassador Kallaghe several times, and we spoke tirelessly about soccer and sports. The man does not support any team in particular, but admires the style and philosophy of various English Premiership Managers such as Arsene Wenger (Arsenal) and Jose Moriunho (Chelsea). He is keen to see the improvement of sports in Tanzania and would like to have more support from our sport authorities.
“This support and cooperation” he says candidly, “could help improve things tremendously.”
Let us give the man a pat on the back and join hands for a better future.
Let’s hope other games like volleyball and netball get the same exposure.
I urge other football clubs, sports organisations and companies to get in touch with the High Commission to see how they can build relations with Premiership clubs, or links between towns in Tanzania with those in UK or between schools in both countries so they can benefit from exchange programmes.