NATIONALISTIC sentiments are part of human nature. But nationalistic sentiments must be moderate and rational; else, the concept is at best diluted, and, at worst, it is rendered meaningless.
In equal measure, it is pointless, if not outright idiotic, to perceive almost everything foreign as superior and to perceive as inferior, anything local. It is a problem that stakeholders administrators, players, fans, and the government at large – must address critically.
It is particularly manifest in soccer, which commands most popularity and attention, and relates, largely, to coaches. There’s an ongoing war - both open and behind-the-scenes on who, between local and foreign coaches, are better at crafting teams under their technical charge into winning machines.
It is a hugely sensitive war because, unlike pastimes like music, quite many fans of major local teams, especially Yanga and Simba, are a frenzied lot who believe their respective teams are the best. For them, therefore, victory in every match in which their favoured side participates is a MUST, and defeat is UNACCEPTABLE !
The spirit of sportsmanship, under which the best team wins, and the defeated opponents (players and fans) accept the results gracefully, applies largely in theory than in practice. On the contrary, indeed, violence often breaks out at the end of matches due to that spirit being heavily compromised! Currently, two expatriate coaches are holding their breath; more-so Etienne Ndairagaje, whose side is fighting hard to evade relegation.
As the Mainland Premier League nears the climax, Azam FC assistant caretaker, Iddi Cheche and Kagera Sugar’s head coach, Mecky Maxime, seem to be the most successful local coaches.
Azam are a distant third behind Simba and Yanga giants, while Kagera Sugar, who narrowly escaped relegation in 2015-16 season are placed fourth. Songea’s Maji Maji are relegation- haunted.
But local coaches of teams at the bottom of the league include Malale Hamsini (JKT Ruvu), Kally Ongala (Maji Maji) and possibly Toto Africa’s Novatus Fulgence. But Maxime, Cheche or National Under-17 team coach, Bakari Shime, are local coaches who have proved that they can deliver.
The bottom line, then, is a combination of competent coaches, and good, disciplined players, to yield a joyous 2017-season. Whether a coach is a national or a foreigner is incidental rather than basic.
However, under the charity-begins-at-home principle, Tanzania must groom local coaches who can deliver fantastic results, and even capture the fancy of foreign teams.