League is finally in its final stretch with traditional arch soccer rivals, Simba and VPL reigning champions, Young Africans contending for top honours.
With four matches to go before the VPL winner is declared, Young Africans, have better chances of retaining the crown than their arch rivals on account of having conceded lesser goals, that’s, in the event of the two teams tying on points.
But in case Simba loses the VPL, then the only chance they have of competing in the continental club tourney would be if they beat Mbao FC in the FA final to be held in Dodoma later this month. But as they say, a bird in hand is better than two in the forest.
The implication of the foregoing saying is that Simba need not waste their precious time thinking on how they are going to beat Mbao FC in the final. For two things stand before them and Mbao FC, one, the match is too far, they don’t know what can happen between now and then.
And secondly, but more importantly, Mbao FC is not a walkover as they have proved more than once, against them and their arch soccer rivals, Young Africans whom they eliminated in the semifinal in order to book a date with them.
Therefore the first thing that await Simba is the VPL, and it’s the VPL that Simba now need to concentrate on and not the final against Mbao FC. Concentrating on each and every match, as they come, in the last four matches would give Simba the opportunity of sharpening their claws for the FA final.
The same thing is true for Mbao FC. They need to do the same thing, concentrate on each and every league match as they come. Concentrating on the league would sharpen Mbao FC’s chances in the final FA Cup final against Simba who are beatable.
Mbao FC should therefore not respect rather than fear Simba when they finally meet in the final. Having led Simba by two goals to nil before they allowed Simba to come back and win the match.
Mbao now need to be working both on their pace and staying power in the game, lack of which had led to their loss against Simba in the league. For Young Africans the most important thing for them is not only retaining the league, but also doing well in CAF tourney they are presently in.
I have said more than eleventh times, that Young Africans would continue to remain irrelevant, in terms of how many times they have won the VPL, as long as they continue to do badly in continental club tournaments.
For the second season running, they have taken part in the continent’s version of the Champions League, for the second season running they been knocked out and given the opportunity of taking part in the lesser tourney, CAF Cup, but they are yet to show the stuff they are made of.
The first time they were given the opportunity of taking part in the CAF Cup after losing in the Champions League was last season. Unfortunately, they went out of the CAF Cup just as they had done in the Champions League.
This time, Young Africans are once again back in the CAF Cup after losing in the Champions League. And one hopes that this time they would do better than they did last time.
But as we all know, doing better does not depend on wishes, for as they say, if wishes were horses, then beggars would ride them. Therefore if Young Africans want to do better in the CAF Cup this year, they need to continue working on their game.
They need to practice very hard and on a daily basis; they need to play as many friendly matches as possible. For no matter how hard and often they practice, without playing as many friendly matches as possible and against better and stronger opponents, it would be as good as doing nothing.
If Young Africans can, for once, combine practice and play more friendly matches than they attend their training sessions, they would do better in continental tournaments.
Watching Young Africans play, especially in continental tournaments, they hardly thread, correctly, passes for more than a minute or two. And one of the main reasons for that is lack of playing against many teams and different levels (against stronger teams) of matches in their training sessions.
Young Africans need to change that now if they want to do better in these continental club soccer tournaments. For instance, it’s not difficult for them to travel, say by bus, to Zambia, where their chief coach is coming from and play against three different top flight Zambian clubs when they have a rest of say one week from the VPL. They can do the same thing by going to Malawi, Kenya, Uganda, Burundi and Rwanda.
The point is, they need to play as many matches and against different African opponents and at short interval in order to learn the mentality game of African players. Driving to Zambia, Malawi, Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda and Burundi is not expensive for a club like Young Africans, Simba or Azam FC for that matter.