THE most watched about soccer theatre in the world, the European soccer league led by the English Premier League, January is an extremely important month for them as far as the strengthening of their clubs, through the transfer window, is concerned.
Since the start of the month, clubs’ managements led by their team manager have been extremely busy criss-crossing the continent in search of new players to fill in the gaps they experienced in the first half of their league season.
Really work actually started in October 2018 when clubs set off their preparation for January 2019 transfer window with the trial of new players from their own soccer academies, the objective being to try to reduce their new players’ purchase bill come this month.
To any serious minded person who has the interest of development of soccer at heart, the criss-crossing that soccer agents have been making in Europe to sell their players, should actually serve as a lesson for Tanzanians, especially those entrusted with the task of developing the game from schools to soccer clubs.
But the million dollar question that still need to be posed is; are our soccer club leaders, especially at the local premier league level, see what is going on in Europe as a lesson to them?
I’m raising this question because what is presently going on in Europe, in terms of soccer transfer, is part of the continent’s planning both for development of the game and that of the multibillion euro soccer industry.
For, unlike what we are used to seeing on the local scene where clubs talk of spending billions of Tanzanian shillings in buying players who always turn out to be worthless; you do that kind of thing in Europe and eventually fail to meet the target that had been set for you by your bosses, you’re straight away shown the door, and that’s lesson number one.
In short, it’s not just a question of buying a player or players, but the question does the player bought represent value for money?
It’s for that reason that we see clubs like Arsenal not just going to the soccer players’ market in order to get what they think they need.
But they are also trying to find out how they can off-load expensive players they have in order to bring in younger, more energetic and yet cheaper players.
Therefore, going by what is going on in Europe now, I expect our clubs to have officials within their clubs who would be noting down lessons from Europe for emulation going forward.
Top premier league clubs like Simba, Young Africans, Azam FC, Mtibwa Sugar and others need to be in the forefront in collecting lessons from Europe and other parts of the world in order to improve their squads.
The point is, if we don’t learn from others who happen to be more advanced in the development of the beautiful game than us, then we are very much unlikely to get anywhere, and if we still don’t know what that means, then that is a tragedy of monstrous proportion.
And talking about planning, over the weekend, Simba’s Spokesman, Haji Manara, told whoever cared to listen to him that his club’s plan in the Champions League was to ensure that they collected all their nine points from home matches against clubs from Algeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Egypt.
What Manara meant is that, come rain, come sunshine, his club planned and was committed to winning all their home games.
It is certainly a good plan.
But if I were them, I would go further than that by committing the team into not losing any of its three away matches.
Simba’s failure to also plan a winning strategycum- commitment for away matches means that they are somewhat silent on the nine points Simba can collect if they win all their away games, and that is strange.
It is strange because if you don’t plan, on equal measure, on away matches, how sure are you that you will win all your home games?
In fact, if Simba are really planning for their Champions League, then they don’t need to pick examples from their own past records registered in 1974 and in 1993.
In the two, foregoing years, Simba reached the semifinal and the final of the Champions League and the CAF Cup because they were able to get good results both at home and away.
Simply put, Simba need to know that for a team to qualify for the quarter final from its respective group, it must collect more than nine points and that can only be realised if such a team has the ability of winning both at home and away from home.
But saying you want to win all home matches is one thing, and winning, as we all know, is completely another.
The question is, what is the club doing, in terms of preparation, to ensure that come next Saturday, Simba would be able to bag in all their first three points?
Of course, what they are doing in the intervening period is supposed to be their secret, in order to avoid a word on their training programme getting to their opponents.
But they need to work extremely hard before Saturday if they want to start well their Champions League campaign.