A few days ago, I wrote in one of my sports columns that our Mainland Premier League was a weak league.
A weak league is determined when league winner emerge well before the end of the league. And this is what happened.
Simba Sports club defended their title almost six matches before the end of the league. I said the same thing about the English Premier League. This season’s winner, Liverpool lifted the trophy after 30 year hiatus almost six matches before the end of the league. But this is not to say that Liverpool is a weak team, far from it.
We are talking here about the English premier league champions, UEFA Champions league kingpins and world football club champions.
But that does not make the league strong when the points difference between the league winner and the first runners up is over 15 points and the situation is such that even if he first runners up won all the remaining matches would not change matters at the top.
Now what are the dangers of a weak league, especially when the league winner is determined over 15 matches before the end of the league? There are plenty of problems and I’m quite sure observers may have long observed.
These include many teams taking off their feet on the gas pedal, as we have already noted on both league I have already touched on. The other problem is teams playing just to remain in the league, a development that tend to encourage match fixing aimed at saving some teams from relegation.
Take the English premier league as a case in point. After Liverpool won the league, suddenly their performance is not as good as when they were still fighting to win the three matches which would have enabled them to become unassailable. The same thing can be said about our local premier league.
The winners, Simba have started drawing their matches! What does this mean? They are not as keen as they were when they were still fighting to lift the crown. And, that is the price we are now paying for having a weak league.
Some of the teams I personally blame for this poor premier league thing include Young Africans, Azam FC and the clubs owned by the sugar manufacturing companies-- Mtibwa and Kagera. I blame the four teams because they have the wherewithal of providing both fans and the league a competitive tournament but they did not do that!
Starting with Young Africans, they needed to extend their previous victory against Simba to other clubs in the premier league in order to make the league more competitive. We don’t need to get to a level where we can even guess who is going to beat who.
If we start guessing who is going to beat who, and our guesses are proved right, there is the danger of corruption getting into play. A team, call it a club if you like, which has always puzzled me is called Azam FC. This is a club that has absolutely no financial problem.
Yet their performance in the league leaves a lot to be desired! I have always asked myself one question. Why do they always hunt for players, both foreign and local who have been brought in Simba or Young Africans? I always ask myself the foregoing question because Azam should not be buying players the two clubs.
In fact, if anything, the reverse should be happening when Azam drops players they think have failed to live up to their expectations. The point is, Azam FC have the money to buy better players and not to compete with Simba and Young Africans. The same thing can be said about the two arch soccer rivals.
I nstead of spending their money and energy hunting and seducing players from one another, they need to make good use of their money in getting local and foreign players who can change their respective games. But they cannot get the kind of players who can change their fortunes if they continue to use middlemen who know nothing about good players.
In fact, it would have been better if they used their respective coaches who know what kind of players they need for performing what kind of formation. It does not make sense to use middlemen to recruit players and hand them to a coach who has the task of later finding out whether or not the players he has been handed can meet his needs on the pitch.
What is bad about middlemen is that most of them are engaged in two bad practices. One, getting players of their liking whom they later use in bringing pressure to bear on the club; and what is perhaps worse, they line up their pockets instead of using all the money they have been given either by the clubs or donors in buying good players.
You find a club has spent almost two billions shillings in buying local and foreign players. But when the players are later assembled and trained, their performance on the pitch does not reflect the kind of the money spent.
Young Africans, Simba and Azam FC need to get away from such practices by using their coaches in getting players they want. That is what top flight European clubs do.