ONE of the famous Christmas songs of an American country and popular music singer, James Travis Reeves (August 20, 1923–July 31, 1964) is: This World is not my home…. I am just a-passing through.
Whenever the football registration process and the transfer season approaches in Tanzania to open the way for the National League to start, the beats of that song of the 1960’s which is very popular in Tanzania always ring in my ears.
Those beautiful and educative lyrics of Jim Reeves resemble the practice of some soccer players when a new football season is about to start and this is not an exception in Tanzania. It just shows that nowadays there is no loyalty left in soccer and one can rightly say that loyalty is becoming a scarce commodity in football nowadays.
The time when players just represented one club for their entire career or about a decade, worked their way to the top from second strings and retired as club legends is over. It is really a very sad indictment on the nature of what is described as global modern day football.
In fact, one would not be wrong if they compare some players, especially those considered to be the stars at a particular time and on whom a club depends for a better performance are no more no less just like mercenaries.
To them loyalty is on the cash placed on a negotiating table and not the club. The players who do so don’t care. To them cash come first than the love for the club they played for the last season. This trend has badly affected the performance of most Tanzanian clubs because whenever a football season kicks off most of them lose players who have formed a good partnership.
As a result, players in a team have to start the season trying to know each other’s habits, style of play and weaknesses. I think it is high time that this trend of some players joining our clubs in the same way as mercenaries do must be checked because they not only weakens the performance at club level, but also when they play for the national team.
Well one can argue that moving from one club to another at the start of a season or later is an acceptable system in modern football, but its disadvantages hinders our performance in international competitions.
No wonder we have been performing very badly in the past few years and we are no longer considered as competitors, but simple participants who help raise the number of teams taking part in a tournament.
We have to take steps of stopping some players who look like enjoying taking clubs and the fans for a tough and rough ride. We can only stop this unpleasant behavior of some football “mercenaries” by reviewing our registration and transfer rules and regulations or by preparing contracts which will not provide them with loop holes.
Which they can utilize to act as parade commanders and reducing club officials to those behind them who have to obey their orders. This trend of no loyalty by some players to the clubs is one of the results of clubs not having juvenile teams or sports academies which will provide them with players who have a strong link to the club and not simply looking at as a temporary employer.
But we must bear in mind that loyalty also works two ways. It is difficult to argue that players should show loyalty to a club when the clubs so often show no loyalty toward the players. If the club will show so little loyalty to players, then it is difficult to argue that the players should show any great loyalty in return.
Our clubs should do some homework to try to try to get layers who have a close affinity with the clubs, having come through their academies, and in most cases, being supporters of the club since they were young. Most of our fans have a great loyalty to their clubs.
They automatically assume that the players at their clubs should show the same loyalty and some actually get so disappointed and fee neglected an rejected when they see players they have loved and admired in their clubs suddenly shift their loyalty and join their rivals.
While it is true that for professional footballers, football is their job and the club is their employer, but the trend of players reducing the clubs which have employed them to toys can’t be tolerated. There are those who may see what takes place in the Tanzania soccer scene these days is a testimony that in today’s world there are no permanent friends, but permanent interests.
They argue that how can a player have loyalty to a club when another team can double his wages and provide him with other incentives? Everyone works hard so as to be better off. Therefore, it is not justified to blame players for wanting to earn more money and other benefits.
But there also other reasons which force players not to be seen to be “loyal” to their clubs. One of them which we see in Tanzania is that once a player has ended his career he is considered a spent force.
Some of the players whose contribution helped clubs to do well in and outside the pitch when they were at their best have had bitter experiences of being forgotten after retiring and clubs failed to help them when they had difficult times.
Many of them passed away while not believing in their last days of life in this cruel world not believing that the clubs they once served obediently for years could have turned a blind eye to their problems even when they were asked for assistance.
Let us check both sides of the coin so as to rectify this sad scenario in the Tanzanian soccer. The earlier we rectify our past and present mistakes the better for our clubs and sports development in the country.