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Tanzanian President Gives New Sunderland Academy Seal Of Approval

Wed 5th Nov 2014 | Football Stadiums & Facilities

President Jakaya M. Kikwete joined senior officials from English Premier League football club, Sunderland AFC (SAFC) and Symbion Power, a US energy provider in a ceremony to mark a milestone in the construction of a new community-based sports park in Dar es Salaam.

As part of Sunderland AFC’s ground-breaking football partnership with Tanzania, the club is lending its expertise to the creation of a football development programme in the country, in partnership with Symbion, who provide the nation with much needed electricity.

Central to this innovative programme is the construction of a community-based sport park, named after the President, located at Kidongu Chekundu, in Ilala Dar es Salaam. The Jakaya M. Kikwete Youth Park will provide a full-size 3G artificial surface, along with a five-a-side pitch, two sand-based pitches and a basketball court. An administration building as well as changing rooms will also be provided, along with floodlighting, to ensure the community can make best use of the facilities.

The event saw President Kikwete plant a symbolic palm tree on the site, which is set for completion in the early part of 2015. His Excellency was joined by Sunderland AFC’s chief executive Margaret Byrne, the club’s commercial director Gary Hutchinson and Paul Hinks, the Chief Executive Officer of Symbion Power.

Speaking about the event, Margaret Byrne, CEO of Sunderland AFC said: “We are honoured to be here in Tanzania today with His Excellency President Kikwete and to see the progress being made with the project.

“The sports park is a central part of the unique partnership between our football club and Tanzania and we are excited to see this special community facility taking shape.”

Paul Hinks of Symbion Power added, “After a long wait for the necessary permits, I am delighted to see that Phase 1 of the Academy is finally under way.

“By joining forces with Sunderland we are able to give the youth in Tanzania a public facility and professional coaching, the likes of which they have not had access to before.” 

The football club is providing technical and practical support to the development of the football project, the first of its kind in the country, which will see thousands of youngsters benefit from a joined up approach combining football, education and community engagement, harnessing the knowledge and expertise of Sunderland AFC.

Posted by: Aaron Gourley 

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