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From 20 to 18, then to 16 teams: Will it pay off?

THE deduction of the Premier League teams from 20 last season to 18 this season has been described by many pundits as a blessing as they believe it has propelled a stiff competition among the contesting sides.

Initially, many questions were asked as to why such decision to trim the number of teams was made with others going further to suggest that it was the demand from the league sponsors.

But, immediately after the start of the season, calmness from people was witnessed and so far, things are unfolding pretty well bearing in mind that teams are having enough preparation time from one match to another.

When the number of trading teams on the log was 20, the fixture was very congested thereby not fair to many clubs which entirely depend on road transport to splint from one place to another to fulfill league assignments.

With the geographical nature of the country, it was really very difficult to manage that and players were usually playing games with travelling fatigue something which in one way or the other resulted to poor results plus performance.

Seeing a team playing approximately three matches in one week was the order of the day and one can recall that some teams had to arrive and play games on the say day hence, one wonders how football can develop under such circumstances.

It is true that players are not machines to be tasked to fulfill a certain role even though they are tired and sometimes, even machines become exhausted when they over work hence they too are given time to rest.

In other words, if all teams had the muscles to travel by air transport, then such incidences could have highly be reduced other than now whereby only three teams which are Simba, Young Africans and Azam can manage to buy air tickets for their players when heading to play at distant places.

Until now, no midweek fixtures are incorporated in the available fixture as such, teams are having ample time to prepare for their games while those which require to have a long trip are also doing the same at ease.

However, they say anything has got its own good and bad side and in this scenario, some teams complain about expenditure and here is where the importance of having multiple sponsors is needed.

For instance, in Dar es Salaam, there are four teams which parade in the Premier League like Simba, Yanga, Azam and KMC meaning that any team from outside the city should play at least two matches before returning back home hence two weeks to stay put.

Definitely, high costs here should be incurred as the players would like to eat as well as sleep for the entire one week unlike last season whereby after one match, the second game was played after two days to complete the two assignments.

In view of this, people out there have mixed reactions as to which is better to either let the club incur huge expenses but in the end give opportunity to players to play the game at ease or decide to return back to their base and come again just two days before the match?

It should, however, be noted that the process of trimming teams playing in the Mainland Premier League will continue this season since the main objective is to have 16 teams trading in the league next term.

But, some stakeholders have been proposing to have another minor league within the top flight league framework whose aim is to facilitate competition since there are many teams which only fight to avoid relegation.

They say a special contest to attract teams which manage to either reach in the top ten or top five category of the league table should be created so that the winner can be presented with the trophy insisting that these innovative ideas can add competition to the teams.

Recently, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Media and Marketing Director Boniface Wambura nodded to the subtraction of the competing teams on the league ladder while cementing that it helps to propel competition among the contestants.

His point was that the resources which teams get from sponsors will be high when it is divided among 16 teams other than 20 teams like the way it was previously.

Wambura, who once served as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Tanzania Premier League Board (TPLB), also noted that the small number of competing teams will bring fair competition a thing he said lacked when the number was 20 teams as before.

He said: “Previously, during the first rounds of league matches, teams used to have energy to compete but as the season progressed, the momentum began to drop simply because they were running out of financial resources.

“We believe that if teams are reduced to at least 16 teams as we hope and at the same time the sponsorship is increased, definitely, people out there will see the real league competition because clubs will have enough resources to buy new players, employ a skilled technical bench and have good secretariat as all these helps to bring success to the club.”

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Author: BENJAMIN BEN

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