THE second leg of the continental level tournament for the clubs goes into action this coming weekend with the outlook of Tanzania’s representatives in both Champions League and the Confederation Cup leaving a lot to be desired.
In the first leg, Zanzibar’s KMKM and Azam went down to Primeira de Agosto and Ethiopia’s Fasil Ketema by 2 and 1 goals respectively, while the rest of our representatives that include new comers, Kinondoni District’s KMC, Simba, Y oung Africans, Malindi drew their matches.
But KMKM should count themselves out of the tournament. Indeed, if they lost by two goals to nil in their own backyard, what chance do they have away from home even if their opponents are now well known to them?
The same thing could be more or less said about Young Africans who drew one all against Botswana’s Township Rollers, in the CAF Champions League match, although experience could probably save Dar’s Jangwani Street Club.
Malindi, KMC, Azam and Simba will be taking their opponents at home although Azam will be starting the game with one goal down conceded in their first leg match against the Ethiopians.
However, KMC and Simba will be starting their home matches with a clean slate and they are more likely to redeem Tanzanians.
But when all is said and done, Tanzanians hopes still lie with the two big guns, Simba and Young Africans, who have both experience and resources to go beyond where they are.
The beauty between the two soccer rivals is that wherever they are, they are always locked in rivalry, and this is what is going to make Simba dispose their Mozambican opponents and Young Africans do the same to their Botswana opponents.
Two things are likely to work for Young Africans, but only if they fire on all their cylinders and stop any leakage in their defence;
One, the pressure to win would be on their opponents and because of that, they would open up in order to kill the game and that could easily play into Young Africans’ hands.
Although the Mozambicans in Dar es Salaam may also have the same advantage against Simba, but the difference between the Mozambican club and Simba is that the latter is more experienced and has always proved a difficult nut to crack, especially at home.
As a country, Tanzania fielded six teams in the continent’s big tournaments, compared to our neighbours such as Rwanda, Burundi, Kenya and Uganda, and it would be a major tragedy if we fail to get half of the teams through to the next round.
Teams that should go to the next round are Y oung Africans, Simba, KMC and Azam. But they will have to work extremely hard to go through the next round given the kind of opponents they have who are certainly no pushovers.
But as I have said in the past, whoever goes through to the next round, need to work extremely hard on the all-important four S, namely, strength, speed, stamina and suppleness.
If they are well laden in the four S, they could easily manage to keep pace with their opponents throughout the match.
And as we have already noted from Simba’s participation in the Champions League last season, one can only go past the group stages if one is not only well loaded with pace, but can maintain it throughout the match.
Simba could have gone to the semifinal and even the final of the tournament had they been well loaded in the four S. indeed.
Even after failing to beat TP Mazembe in Dar es Salaam, they could have still beaten the Congolese team in their own backyard.
Especially after scoring that first goal, but could not because they tried to defend the one goal lead very early in the match and the result was nothing but a telling debacle.
Simba resorted to defensive play because they had no stamina to press on the Congolese in order to score more goals after they had shocked their hosts with an early lead and in their own backyard.
The importance of working hard on one’s pace lie in the fact that the standard of soccer in Africa is more or less the same from the south to the north and from the west to the east.
And because the standard of soccer in the continent is almost the same, Tanzanian soccer clubs are very much capable of going through group stages of both CAF and Champions League, but if they are well laden in what I have already said, the all- important four S.
Any team that is capable of playing at a very high pace for more than the regulation time is capable of winning matches both at home and away from home.
Therefore the choice lies with our clubs. I wish them all the best.