All roads head to Tanzania as Future Stars Academy hosts world-class football matches

The annual youth soccer tournament will attract at least 310 teams, 5,000 youthful players and 6,000 fans to the country's tourism hub

TUESDAY October 3, 2023

Children below five-year age in practice at Future Stars Academy in Arusha, Tanzania. PHOTO | FSA

By Adam Ihucha

Tranquility News Correspondent, Tanzania

Future Stars Academy based in northern Tanzania is working extra time searching for partners to complement its efforts in organising the first-class sporting event in December 2023.

Billed the East Africa’s premier youth soccer tournament to be staged in Tanzania’s safari capital city of Arusha between December 11 and 17, 2023, the annual event will attract 310 soccer teams, coming along with around 5,000 players and nearly 6,000 fans.

“As we are taking the road less travelled, we are open to work with sponsors who will enjoy high-profile visibility, partners and investors who share a similar conviction in youth sports nurturing,” says Future Stars Academy Chief Executive Officer, founder and Coach Alfred Itaeli.

Dubbed Chipkizi Cup, the 14th edition of the world-class soccer contest will attract over 20 high-profile international scouts and agents who are coming to Tanzania in anticipation of recruiting young talented players to join their football academies abroad and overseas.

The football talent-recruiting scouts and agents, who have so far confirmed attending the Chipkizi tournament, are from United States, United Kingdom, Spain, Macedonia, Netherlands, Germany, Iceland, Kenya and Malawi.

Arusha Regional Football Association Chairman Zakayo Mjema (Second Right) addresses media practitioners on the forthcoming Chipkizi Cup recently. He is flanked by Habari Node Plc Sales and Marketing Executive Doreen Jackson (Right), Future Stars Academy CEO and founder Alfred Itaeli (Second Left) and Arusha District Council Acting Sports Officer Priscus Silayo. PHOTO | ADAM IHUCHA

“In total, the Chipkizi East African youth tournament will draw more than 10,000 people, implying that it will significantly stimulate sports tourism and local economy. However, for it to be successful, we need a helping hand in terms of sponsorship,” stresses Coach Itaeli.

In Arusha, and increasingly across the country, sports tourism commonly serves as a tool for spurring local economic development, as such events bring substantial number of people who fill empty hotel rooms, eat the local cuisine and use local transport means, among others.

Tourism gurus say the Chipkizi sporting event has been returning significant economic benefits to host communities.

Owing to their perceived positive impacts on local economies and sports tourism, some think such initiatives, bundled as a multi-event annual programme, are an effective tool for economic stimulation in small cities.

Indeed, the Chipkizi East African soccer tourney has consistently been taking place in Arusha for nearly a decade and a half, where a number of youth teams from Kenya, Uganda, DRC Congo, Malawi, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Japan, Zanzibar and the host Tanzania Mainland have been participating, with a multiplier economic effects to the local communities.

Tanzania national team player Novatus Miroshi, 21, is also playing for Shakhtar Donetsk in the Ukraine’s Champion League. The left-back cum midfielder’s contract, which expires on June 30, 2024, had a market value of British Pounds 700,000 by June this year. PHOTO | TRANSFER MARKET

The tournament had 302 teams in 2022; this year’s U17 age group already being full and barely two places remaining for the U20, with Simba, the Africa’s 7th top sports club, confirming to bring its U17 and U20 boys for the first time.

Tanzanian national team player Novatus Miroshi, who is playing in the Shakatar Donetsk team, which is taking part in the Ukraine Champions League, was groomed and raised at the Future Stars Academy in Arusha, Tanzania, and was spotted and scouted at the Chipkizi Cup tournament.

About a week ago, Blessed Maposa from Zimbabwe and Razaki Bashir from Tanzania returned from two-week trials in Spain.

Several children have attained international scholarships to the UK, Spain and the US, let alone locally.

Coach Itaeli is grateful to the Arusha-based Internet service provider, Habari Node Plc, for sponsoring this year’s youth tournament as part of its corporate social responsibility.

Headquarters of one of the sponsors of Chipkizi Cup, Habari Node Plc, situated at House Number 15, Mahakama Street, along Nyerere Road, in Tanzania’s safari capital of Arusha. PHOTO | FILE

The company credited for its low-cost, but steadfast Internet, has a strong presence in key commercial regions of Arusha, Kilimanjaro, Mwanza, Dar es Salaam and Dodoma, where the influence of the internet in business is well-established and acknowledged.

In northern Tanzania, for instance, Habari Node Plc General Manager Kabaza Runyeta says the company provides internet services not only to entrepreneurs within and outside the central business districts, but also to the national parks such as Arusha, Tarangire, Manyara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

With its head office situated in Arusha, Tanzania, Habari Node Plc provides standard internet services and a range of other ICT-based business solutions.

The company was jointly founded in 2010 by Afam (T) Limited and Arusha Node Marie before Habari Node took over the internet service activities of Arusha Node Marie, a society that has been operational since 1994.

Jabali Ridge, a stylish camp belonging to one of the sponsors of Chipkizi Cup, Asilia African Camps and Lodges, in the wildlife-rich Ruaha National Park, is set on a rocky outcrop overlooking Mwagusi River and Ikuka Escarpment in the Tanzania’s southern tourism circuit. PHOTO | ASILIA

Habari Node transitioned from a limited liability company to a Public Limited Company in April 2017. It is incorporated in Tanzania with a Certificate Number 75466 and licensed by Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority as an Internet Service Provider.

It is also accredited by the Tanzania Network Information Centre (tzNIC) to offer .TZ domain registry services. Habari Node is a member of Tanzania Internet Services Provider (TISPA) and currently hosts the Arusha Internet Exchange Point (AIXP) on behalf of other Arusha ISP’s.

Besides Habari Node, other firms interested in supporting the tournament for the youth aspiring professional football include Asilia Lodges and Camps, Hospice, Probono, Time2Help, TGT, UWC, Aga Khan, Braeburn and Saint Constantine.

“We are pleading with the media, financial institutions and other institutions in both the public and the private sectors to consider chipping in,” Coach Itaeli saidΩ

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