ALMOST the entire world is talking about relaxing lockdowns and getting back to active sports, and in particular, to the money spinning sport, soccer league.
The implication of this is that by mid next month, the European soccer league may be back to what it was before the emergency of the coronavirus pandemic. Therefore, the issue now is not whether or not sports lockdowns should be relaxed or completely removed, but rather how prepared our players are for the league.
When the local league in Tanzania finally kicks off next month, the challenge on the pitch would be how well prepared are players. As I had noted in my last column, the litmus test would revolve around discipline. It would be a test of which players and from which team in the league are the most disciplined.
The team whose players would start the league in a whirlwind fashion, locking down their counterparts and collecting the all-important points would be the team which had had the most disciplined players during the sports lockdown.
And losers would be teams whose players lack discipline on account of their players’ failure to train, individually and at their respective homes, when sports in the country was locked down.
Losers would be rightly described as having lacked discipline because like the winners, we would like to believe that, both set of players were provided, digitally, by their respective coaches with self-training programmes.
Those who trained in accordance with self-training programmes they had been provided by their coaches through their smart phones or laptops would of course produce the desired results.
After the imposition of the sports lockdown in Tanzania three months ago, I wrote more than once in my columns on the need for clubs managements to review contracts with their players with the aim of finding out whether they can amend them, through the assistance of their lawyers, to reflect what they had gone through during the lockdown.
I said then that I was quite sure European soccer clubs, especially those in the premier league, were very much likely to review contracts they had with their players with the express purpose of getting into the contracts lessons they had learnt in the course of lockdowns in their respective countries.
Much as we may not need to follow whatever top flight European soccer clubs are doing, it is still important to take a glance at our club, player contract to find out if they (contracts) can continue to operate the way they are even after some of the challenges clubs went through in the course of sports lockdown in the country.
One of the main reasons why I insist in our undertaking of this particular exercise is that, Tanzania is not an island. This is especially so, when it comes to the beautiful game which, as we all know, is regulated by a foreign body, the Fifa.
The point is, as long as football is regulated by the Fifa, we need to undertake the exercise so that when the world football governing body comes up with its rules or asks for inputs we may be in a position to present the organisation with our own experiences as far as contracts between clubs and players are concerned.
This is important because as members of the world community involved in soccer, we also need to play our part as global players in the game and that is what affiliation is all about unless we don’t believe to be affiliated to the Fifa!
For instance, I’m told both Simba SC and Azam FC will be heavily affected should the TFF start the league as most of the two clubs’ foreign legion is still out of the country in their respective countries.
With international flights in the countries where such players come from yet to resume, it is going to be extremely difficult for foreign players for the two clubs return to Tanzania in time for the league.
In fact, I had hinted on the foregoing problem a week or two back when I said three clubs were likely to face the problem on account of having registered foreign players in their respective clubs, and during the time, I had also included Young Africans.
But it now appears that Young Africans were as expected smarter, what with the presence in the club of ‘vanyalukolo’ the likes of Dr Mshindo Msolla, Fredrik Mwakalebela and their brother- in-law, Charles Boniface Mkwassa.
Simba and Azam FC would certainly need to pick a leaf or two from Y oung Africans, come July, when they embark on registration of new players. They need to do as much scouting as possible for local talent especially for the few existing soccer academies that are around.
There is really nothing as good as getting players who have gone through a soccer academy. For apart from being well disciplined, more often than not, they are also trainable and those are the kind of players our clubs need, trainable players. There is no point spending money on untrainable players.