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Asante Kotoko: They gave us massive lessons

AS we all already know, the Simba, Asante Kotoko friendly match to commemorate Simba’s Day, ended in a one all draw, and there were numerous lessons from that game both for Simba and other local clubs in the country which I would like to touch on today.

One, we were once again taught that there is no match that one can win through one’s mouth! To win a match, a team needs to train hard. This is something I have said in my columns times without number.

Yet Tanzanians don’t seem to be learning anything whenever they lose a game after they had told all who mattered that they were going to win the match. It would be recalled that before the Ghanaians flew in, Simba spoke of their commitment to ensure that they defeated the Ghanaians.

But it was sheer lucky for the red shirted Tanzanians that they managed to pull back a one all draw, otherwise they were already done. Secondly, when we talk of getting the right crop of players what we witnessed on that day from the visiting Ghanaians is what we really mean; mixing a few old guards with many, new young players.

And the way those young boys performed on the pitch on that day, and knowing the level Ghana has reached, as far as the beautiful game is concerned, they must have come from soccer academies.

I later came to learn that (you know with these days’ digital age) actually some of the best players had been left back home, and that the team we saw was actually being rebuilt, call it work in progress if you like.

But as I have repeatedly said in the past, I’m not convinced by Simba’s latest line-up. That team will take them nowhere given the kind of players they have.

In fact, Simba’s weakness was exposed by the Ghanaians very early in the game, and those weaknesses continued to the end of the match. For a team that is supposed to be representing this country in the continental club championship in a few months’ time, we should simply forget going anywhere.

Simba do not seem to have learnt anything from their five years’ absence from international soccer, and this is clearly demonstrated by the way they have recruited their new players. Again, it would be sheer lucky if Simba go beyond the preliminary round of the continental club championship.

And to think that, that is the team that spent a few weeks in Turkey, one wonders what they would have done on that day had they not had an ‘aura’ of confidence that stemmed from their stint in Europe.

A few days ago, I wrote what their arch rivals, Young Africans, had done when they were preparing for their first continental soccer club championship, during which they would later meet the same Ghanaian soccer club, Asante Kotoko.

To reach the quarter final against the Ghanaians, Young Africans had beaten numerous clubs on their way up which included the then Ethiopia’s tough customers, St Georges. But I insisted in that piece of mine that Young Africans would not have played four times against Asante Kotoko before losing the fifth encounter in a play-off, had they not had that month long training in Romania.

When we were told about Simba’s trip to Turkey for a training tour, we all rejoiced because that is what they were supposed to have done. Indeed, you don’t prepare yourself for the continental club championship by confining your training at home.

You need to go out to test your team against some of the best in the world and I personally think Simba did the right thing. Their only mistake, and a big one at that, is that they made such an expensive tour with wrong crop of players who seem to have failed to learn anything from the tour and this is very unfortunate.

Just like other local clubs, Simba committed the same mistake of getting foreign players who do not have what it takes to play successfully in the continental club tournament. Fine, they got players like Meddie Kagere from Gor Mahia.

But I don’t think they took adequate time to learn who made Kagere play the way he did when he was still with Gor Mahia. That is why I have repeatedly insisted, in these columns, in the past on the need for our club to use their former players in scouting for new players, especially foreign players.

You don’t follow up the progress of a player you want in two to three matches. You need to follow up a player for more than two games, even ten, if need be. Had they made their homework on Kagere, they would have discovered that probably he was a good finisher because there was a player, they left behind, who created spaces for him.

The point is, I’m not belittling Kagere. But Simba should have also brought home the Gor player who makes Kagere do the kind of things he does when he is on the pitch. It is for that reason that it is important for our clubs to spend more time keeping an eye on a player you want, be it a foreign or local.

TANZANIA’S representatives in the CAF Champions League and CAF ...

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Author: ATTILIO TAGALILE

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