Nairobi (AFP) – Tanzanian authorities launched a fundraising campaign on Thursday aimed at raising nearly half a million dollars to “motivate” the national team who are about to play their first Africa Cup of Nations match in nearly 40 years.
By the afternoon, a third of the amount had been raised, said the country’s vice-president Samia Suluhu, adding that “the goal is to reach one billion shillings”, about $436,000 US dollars.
“Our last participation was 39 years ago. All this time, we were asleep. Now we are waking up,” said Suluhu.
“This is our team, the Tanzanian team. We must support it financially,” she said, explaining that the government had not set aside a budget for the national team’s possible participation in the competition.
Celebrities and companies took turns in front of the vice-president to reveal the amounts in their envelopes.
Tanzania will play their first match in Group C on Sunday against Senegal in Cairo. They will then face neighbours Kenya and Algeria. In the 1980 finals, Tanzania finished bottom of their group with one point.