LATER today, Tanzania soccer fans would be treated to the second derby since the start of the new VPL season when Simba are expected to take on their traditional rivals, Young Africans, at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Like past derbies between the two oldest soccer clubs in the country, soccer fans have for the past two or so weeks been treated to the same stories of chest beating between fans from either side.
On the paper, Simba have an edge over their opponents, yet on the ground anyone between the two could emerge victorious today.
This is because the problem with the two teams is that whenever they prepare against one another, they are usually very thorough, leaving no stone unturned.
In fact, you would be forgiven to think the two, so called big guns are preparing for the continental club champions or CAF final. And this explains why it is extremely difficult to predict the winner when the two take on one another.
Had the two clubs prepared themselves against continental matches in the same way they do for their derbies, they would have done better than what they have been doing. In fact, a back to back loss in a derby match between the two is usually enough to lead to the sacking of a coach.
In short, there is nothing Simba and Young Africans coaches fear more than losing a back to back derby, be it a league or friendly match. This reminds me of what German’s Fifa World Cup winning player and coach, Frans Backenbauer once said in relation to Germany national soccer team playing a friendly match against Brazil.
He said there is no friendly match between Germany and Brazil, meaning the Germany team should not allow a defeat against the Brazilians.
Following Backenbauer’s statement, I came to understand why Germany always took their friendly matches against the Brazilians very seriously. Another team Germans are always serious when they are playing against is England.
They would rather lose against any team in the world but not against Brazil or England. While it is difficult to understand why they fear losing even friendly matches against the Brazilians, it is however, not difficult to understand their fear over England.
Germans’ rivalry against England was officially born in 1966 when they were denied by the referee what they considered to have been a bona fide goal against Britain when the ball hit the inside of the crossbar, went out and was clear by British defender.
It would be recalled that after the goal was disallowed by the referee, England went on to win later the Fifa World Cup. Ironically, the same thing that had befell the Germans, would befall the England national team during the 2010 Fifa World Cup held for the first time in Africa when the tournament was held in South Africa.
Again, it was a repeat of what happened in 1966 and this time the goal was disallowed against England. However, the only difference between 2010 and 1966 is that Germany did not go on to win the Fifa World Cup but rather Spain after they edged out the most unfortunate nation in the Fifa World Cup tournaments, the Netherlands.
Since then, the Netherlands have continued to carry the tag of one of the best soccer teams in the world which is yet to win the Fifa World Cup. The Netherlands have lost more than once in the Fifa World Cup finals, first in 1974 against West Germany in Munich and secondly in 2010 against Spain in South Africa.
And what tag do we give to Simba and Young Africans in terms of their soccer status in Africa? Both clubs are recognized by their opponents in the continent as above average teams, yet they have never won a continental title.
In fact, the only club that went close to winning a continental title was Simba in 1993 when they were knocked out in the CAF final in Dar es Salaam by Ivory Coast’s Stella Abidjan.
Whenever I come to think about the two clubs’ failure to win either of the continental clubs tournaments, the champions league or the CAF Cup, I always lose interest in the two-club derbies and this includes the latest derby to be played today.
Yes, I always don’t I understand why their respective fans are so much consumed by their derbies when their clubs have failed to click in continental clubs tournaments.