THERE is nothing that has, for a very long time, continued to surprise and baffle me than the belief by Tanzanian soccer fans, and in particular, those who have their faith and hearts in Simba and Young Africans when they believe in the invincibility of their clubs.
Just listen to an avid Simba fan talk, when his club is about to play a premier league match. If you don’t know the background and history of the two Dar es Salaam clubs, you would believe in what the fan is telling you.
And, the same thing will come to pass, you would swallow, whatever you are told when a Yanga fan tells you his yarn on his club. Both set of fans are not guided by facts, just like some of the sports journalists in this country, but by love for their respective clubs.
And that explains why they always have excuses whenever they are walloped by nondescript clubs in the premier league. If there is anything that has helped in the underdeveloped of the two clubs, soccer wise, it is none other than the conduct of their fans.
Let no one cheat you, Simba and Yanga soccer fans are so powerful that they can get rid of any leadership they believe has failed to deliver. When Simba fans start talking about not wanting this or that leader in the club, don’t underrate them. That is how they start. The same thing is true when Yanga fans start a similar talk.
For one to succeed as a leader in Simba or Yanga you need to have a very thick skin. You succeed in either club then you can become anything in the country’s leadership, even the President of anything for that matter.
That is why you sometimes see some faces in either clubs, especially during their respective matches at the sprawling National Stadium of people you think you may have seen them talking serious things in the government. Now don’t get yourself into thinking that you may have confused yourself.
No, those are the very people you have been seeing in parliament or in the government. You need to belong to either of the club in order to be taken seriously. And it does not matter which club you belong to and don’t get cheated, this did not start today. The practice is as old as the two clubs.
That is where members of the opposition and those in the ruling party share their light stories. In short, Simba and Yanga are quasi political parties. You mess up with either of the two clubs and the clubs will mess you up!
Only past and present Union presidents have succeeded not to be seen to be part of either of the two clubs during their reign, and to me I think that is what statesmanship is all about, showing the people you’re the father of all.
But today I want to appeal to both shadow members of the two clubs, from the political from the political divide to push their clubs into modern soccer. Indeed, only by taking a plunge in the establishment of soccer academies would they be better placed to predict victories for their respective clubs.
But as it stands now, when both heavily depend on streets made players, they will continue to live in agony, whenever they think their respective clubs are well positioned to win this or that match. Take the match between Simba and Mtibwa as case in point.
How possible was it for Simba to beat Mtibwa Sugar, and of all places, in their own backyard in Morogoro? Is it not the same Simba that was walloped barely last month, during the semifinal of the Mapinduzi Cup in the isles, forcing Mohamed Dewji alias MO, to express concern over the massive funding he has been making for the club?
And, what happened to Mtibwa Sugar? How could they lose by three solid goals against a club they had simply disposed off in Zanzibar? Now that is what I have repeatedly said in these columns. If you heavily rely on street made players, then those are the kind of results you should expect to get, unexpected results.
You get unexpected results, victory or defeat because the players are not scientifically prepared. Now Simba say they have finally found their winning formula. I’m not sure about that. Why? Because of the same problem I have just narrated above, the kind of players Simba have.
The same thing can be said about their arch soccer rivals, Yanga. How can they draw against Mbeya City when their players are better cared for than the matoke eating players from Mbeya? It is the same problem. The same story. No matter how much money you spent on street made players you are unlikely to get good results.
• Attilio Tagalile is a journalist/author and media consultant based in Dar es Salaam and can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org