SAFC in Tanzania: Day One

Symbion partnership gathers pace.

After travelling to Dar, the SAFC delegation had a busy few days, which kicked off with a visit to Kidondo Chekundu and Benjamin Mkapa High School to look at the proposed area for the new academy that the club is helping to develop, in partnership with Symbion Power.

At the school, the delegation met with a number of local dignitaries, including MP Hon Mussa Azzan Zungu and local ward Leader Salum A. Bisarara, who made everyone feel very welcome.

Whilst there, the delegation discussed the feasibility of developing the academy on the site, with a number of factors being taken into consideration – including floodlights. Following this meeting, the delegation headed over to the Tanzania Football Federation, (TFF) to meet the TFA Director.

It was here where the club presented plans and talked through the details of the project, stressing the importance of the academy becoming an integral part of the local community.  Graham Robinson, who heads up the Foundation of Light’s Football Development department and SAFC Academy Manager, Ged McNamee, shared their thoughts and ideas for the Dar academy and how it can tie in with the TFA programme.

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The academy proposals were then presented to his worship the Mayor Ilala Municipal Council at Anatogo Hall.

The feedback the club received from the Mayor was extremely positive. He wants to see the project completed as soon as possible as he sees it as a great asset to the local community, which was fantastic to hear.

With a few more places to go on the whistle-stop tour, the delegation dropped in to the Azam FC Sports ground, where they met with club coach Vivek Nagul and team manger Stuart Hall.

They enjoyed a full tour of the facility, which boasts a 6,000 seater-deck, a full size artificial playing surface, dormitories for players, as well as a swimming pool and gymnasium facilities.

Margaret Byrne also had the honour of attending an event with a US delegation from the White House at a special lunch hosted by Corporate Council on Africa (CCA) chairman Paul Hinks.  www.africacncl.org. Sunderland’s positive work in Africa was highlighted, along with the Tanzanian partnership.

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President Obama’s arrival for a visit to Symbion sparked real excitement and the streets were packed with locals cheering and hoping to catch a glimpse of him. Margaret was privileged to be able to hear the President’s speech on his initiative to "Power Africa", along with leading figures from some major organisations - Jay W Ireland, the president and CEO of GE Africa, Tony Elumelu, the chairman of Heirs Holdings and Daniel W Addo, the CEO from United Bank for Africa - just to name a few.

Monday culminated with an invitation to a state dinner from President Kikwete, a truly amazing occasion.