AS the 2021/22 Premier League season gets underway on Monday, it is time to sit back and meditate on what sort of season it will be following some modifications which have happened in between.
However, prior to that, eyes and ears of football fraternity will be at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam tomorrow when the country’s football heavyweights; Simba and Young Africans will battle it up for the Community Shield title.
Yes, there is no other thrilling way to unveil the new season other than experiencing a derby pitting two top teams which usually do not miss on the list of key title contenders of the season, and tomorrow's match will help to provide answers on which side conducted good business during the transfer window.
The good thing about this curtain raiser is that a winner must be produced even if the scoreboard remains unchanged at the end of 90 minutes of play.
With Simba being the Community Shield’s defending champions, they will surely not be in a position to surrender it easily while at the same time, their opponents Yanga will be keen to begin the new chapter with silverware in their cupboard.
But, it should be remembered that both teams lost their last matches by a 1-0 margin, and as such they are both wounded ahead of the titanic clash, and this means people should expect an entertaining battle.
Simba suffered a 1-0 loss to TP Mazembe on the climax of their 'Simba Day’ festival, an outcome which partly spoiled their festive mood as thousands of the team's fans who turned up for the big day returned home heads down.
Likewise, their traditional rivals Yanga were hammered 1-0 by Rivers United of Nigeria in the second leg of the CAF Champions League match at Port Harcourt stadium in Nigeria, thereby crashing out of Africa’s biggest club level showdown.
Putting that context in mind, until this juncture, the scale is balanced as either of the two teams have an advantage to clinch the first silverware of the season which will enable them to commence the season in a positive frame of mind.
For now, walking around in different places across the country, you frequently see or hear people talking about football and giving out their opinions on how they think the season is going to be, with many conceding that it will be very competitive.
With 16-teams on board, it means there will be a total of 240 matches to be staged in different venues across the country, hence this is the best opportunity for the clubs to do their match analysis well.
Here, the focus is to welcome aboard the two new teams, Geita Gold and Mbeya Kwanza, who will be making their debuts in the top flight league, and as such the results to be obtained from their two opening matches will help to have an impact on them.
Geita Gold opted to bring experienced coach Etienne Ndayiragije to help them in stepping up the league staircases since he is aware of how the country's league unfolds after coaching Mbao, Azam, KMC and the senior football team, Taifa Stars.
Their two opening matches will be held away from home as they will travel to Lindi to face hosts Namungo at Ilulu Stadium on Monday before heading to Dar es Salaam to face the real major test of the campaign against Yanga at Benjamin Mkapa Stadium on October 7th.
These two games will help people know how prepared Geita Gold are to withstand the league pressure, bearing in mind that the two back to back away clashes are against well-polished teams which have strengthened their squads in the past transfer window and will give them good assessment of their side.
Other debutants, Mbeya Kwanza will also begin their campaign with two away games, facing Mtibwa Sugar at Jamhuri Stadium in Morogoro on Monday where they need to fight hard to earn their first ever three points of the top flight league.
After the Morogoro mission, they will go back to their home base, Sokoine Stadium to face their brothers Mbeya City, with the latter hosting the match in a probable pick of the day encounter.
This will be the first Mbeya derby match of the season since Tanzania Prisons are no longer using Sokoine Stadium as their home venue after migrating to Rukwa region where they use Nelson Mandela Stadium as their base.
It was recently reported that they (Tanzania Prisons) are in final stages to make a permanent shift to Dodoma, but in the time being, according to the available fixture, all their home games are pegged at Nelson Mandela venue.
All these two opening encounters will be a good test for the debutants, and if they excel to stamp good results, they will surely increase confidence levels to face any team standing on their way.
Tanzania Premier League Board (TPLB) also deserves kudos for their efforts to run a number of training activities to different groups of people who are in one way or the other directly involved in running the league.
These include sports journalists, match commissioners, referees, team managers and many others who separately have been equipped with the necessary skills required in their profession to be applied in the incoming season.