Government efforts to promote the ultra modern Stadium in Dar es Salaam is beginning to show positive signs, after a Canadian club announced plans to visit the country. First Division Club, Vancouver Whitecaps, are expected to announce in the coming days that the team will embark on a three-game pre-season tour of Tanzania.
Tanzania has embarked on a strategy to market the new facility across the world, so as to attract teams to camp in the country before and during the historic 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. While details of the trip are still being finalized, it's expected the defending USL First Division champions will leave the first weekend of March and return 10 to14 days later.
Canadian news website, Canada Dot Com reported over the weekend that the purpose of the trip is to promote team building as well as player development. "It's a great thing for the group to get together and to get to know each other very well," the website quoted Whitecaps head coach, Teitur Thordarson, following his team’s training session at Ambleside Park in West Vancouver, last Thursday.
Thordarson added: "That's always good to have when you are on the road for long periods of time in the season and people have been basically using the season to get to know each other. The trip would aid in the speeding up of that process.” The Whitecaps hope to play one game against a team made up of a mix of national players, with a pair of Tanzanian club teams rounding out the rest of their schedule.
At least one of the games may be played at Dar es Salaam's New National Stadium, which holds more than 60,000 fans. The training tour to Tanzania would mark the first time the Whitecaps have toured since the days of the North American Soccer League, more than 20 years ago now. Travelling abroad for training purposes is, however, becoming more and more the norm.
The Montreal Impact travelled to Italy and Portugal for six games before the 2008 USL-1 season and the Seattle Sounders visited Tanzania for three friendly matches in November of 2005, after winning the USL-1 title earlier that year. In previous seasons, Vancouver played host to touring teams, most recently the Los Angeles Galaxy in Edmonton on May 13 and at BC Place in November of 2007. The Whitecaps won the inaugural Canada’s Nations Cup, held in the summer of 2006 at Swangard Stadium, which included runner-up Cardiff City of the English Championship League, along with India's national team and the Chinese under-20 national team.