IN my two last sports columns in which readers, who missed the hard copies, I spoke on the challenges which are likely to have confronted our Mainland Premier League players during the sports lockdown.
As we all know, most of our local premier league players are reported to have been provided, digitally, with self-training programme kits for undertaking, individually and in their respective homes, which if adhered to, would have kept them in tip top form.
But most of the coaches, if not all, who had provided their respective players with such self-training programme kits were worried stiff over their players’ seriousness in getting involved in such self-training programmes.
A number of coaches said that if they had problems getting their players to train in groups in their full presence before the onset of the corona virus pandemic, most of their players were very much unlikely to train in adherence to the self-training programmes they had been provided.
In my latest sports column which was published on Wednesday, this week (May 27th 2020); I wrote that the resumption of the local league in next month (June), would provide the litmus test on the level of discipline of our players, both local and foreign, over whether they did what they had been instructed by their respective coaches in the course of sports lockdown.
My argument was that for the players who had adhered to what they had been required to do through those self-training programme kits, would not have fitness problems when the premier league resumes.
However, players who had not worked on their respective self-training programme kits would have difficulties in coping with the pace of the league once it resumes.
The point is, no matter how good players a team has, its performance in the league would heavily depend on how fit the players in the team are.
Even if the Tanzania Premier League Board (TPLB) provided at least three weeks of training for all the team before the resumption of the league, players who have been training, individually in their respective homes during the sports lockdown, would be better prepared than those who have trained three weeks before the resumptions of the league.
Until Wednesday this week when I wrote my first sports column for the week, I can safely say that we did not have evidence to confirm the fears that had been expressed by some of our local premier league coaches.
But going by Thursday’s edition (May 28th 2020) of this paper, there are at least hints that the fears that had been expressed by some of the premier league coaches over two months ago may hold water.
Two Simba players, striker Meddie Kagere and skipper John Bocco were quoted expressing somewhat fears over their match fitness once the league resumes.
In fact, Kagere who arrived from his home in Rwanda early this week was more direct when he said he feared for their match fitness after two months of suspension of the premier league following the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic.
His skipper on the other hand was not so direct on the matter. But Bocco’s comments about tough league eluded to nothing but players’ fitness. You don’t talk of tough league if your players are as fit as a fiddle.
Fears about the league’s toughness can only be expressed when the players have not conquered the magical four S, strength, speed, suppleness and stamina.
And players in a team cannot conquer the four magical S if they have not worked hard on their strength, speed, suppleness and stamina, things that require a lot of time to conquer them.
Had the players adhered to the letter on the self-training programmes kits they had been provided by their respective coaches during the sports lockdown, the two or three weeks likely to be provided by the TPLB would have been used in tuning up their four magical S and not on working on such S.
They could have spent their first week in going through what they had been provided through their smart phones by their local coaches during their ten weeks of lockdown in working together as a group.
And used the remaining one week or two in re-charging their magical four S through playing as teams; and the latter is what helps a team to recapture their hitherto team work which may have melted in the course of the lengthy lay-off.
Now the fears expressed by Kagere and his lanky skipper, Bocco speaks volumes, as the two players may have already known whether or not their colleagues had adhered to the self-training programme kits they had all been provided by their respective coaches.
But as I had occasion to note on my sports column on Wednesday this week, the resumption of the local premier league would still provide us with the litmus test over whether or not premier league players had adhered to the self-training programme kits they had, digitally, been provided with.
• Attilio Tagalile is a journalist/author and media consultant based in Dar es Salaam and can be contacted through firstname.lastname@example.org