THOUGH only eighteen Premier League games have been staged, the two rounds of the league promise unanticipated changes in the league whose status fast growing up.
With KMC, who last season narrowly escaped relegation, are firm at the pilot seat, the first time above league’s big guns; Simba, Young Africans and Azam. We expect many surprises too and the shocking Polisi Tanzania’s away victory over the vast improved Namungo FC , means more surprises are going to come this season.
Simba, who seem to lead the changes towards the full professionalism, are knowingly or unknowingly teaching other teams to be better than they were before. From what we have seen at this early start, it is crystal clear that we are heading for a highly competitive season as each team has got abilities to do wonders.
The ride is very tight as no side is given guarantee to win its respective match until at the end of normal period of play whereby the winning team celebrate at the expense of the losers.
The words that in the football there is no small or big team, are now a reality as this has been seen from the 18 played games where the performance is almost the same as the self- proclaimed big teams like Simba and Young Africans are really sweating on the pitch.
This was evident in the past league tie between Yanga and Mbeya City which had to go all the way to 87th minute for the winner to be decided as the visitors were well organised to prove wrong those people who thought the hosts would enjoy a hot cake from them.
The fact that Mbeya City side had lost 4-0 in their league’s opening match against KMC, was not a licence for Yanga to take advantage of them as they approached the battle differently only to lose focus in the final stages.
Likewise, Mtibwa Sugar who hosted the defending champions Simba in a match that ended in a 1-1 draw, the hosts looked tough and in some departments better, thus giving the champions a bumpy ride in all 90 minutes of the tense game.
Reducing the number of contesting teams from 20 last season to 18 this term, has in one way or the other helped to give teams ample time to prepare well for their matches which, to a big extent, encourages hot foot work on the battlefield.
Again, trimming the teams has enabled the competing sides to travel long distance to accomplish their assignments while at the same time, enjoying the enough period which has been offered.
At this stage, much praise should be given to the Tanzania Premier League Board (TPLB) as well as the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) for seeing it useful to reduce the number of competing sides.
The exercise of deducting top flight league teams is not yet over though as next season, the league is expected to have 16 teams meaning that there will be even extra time in between for them to rehearsal before playing matches.
Also, the TPLB and TFF deserve kudos for creating a friendly fixture which is somehow conducive to many teams as they are able to fulfill them with minimal problems.
For instance, going back to the time when twenty teams were lined up in the league, some teams were having approximately three league games in one week and in the same context, they had to make long trips hence fatigue of players was the order of the day.
As such, if the current flow of matches will continue, definitely, this season’s league can stamp a long live history as far as domestic football is concerned.
The seriousness of TPLB is also adding value on the excitement of the beauty of football as they have so far suspended two venues which are Biashara United’s Karume Stadium in Mara and Gwambina’s arena for having improper pitches.
This is a big step towards the destiny of football progress in the nation because clubs will now be taking a leading role to upgrade their pitches or else see them being suspended.
It is better to have a perfect pitch where the ball can easily move from one point to another unlike having a beautiful structure of the stadium with a poor pitch which allows the ball to bounce like when cooking popcorns as used to be said by former Young Africans Head Coach Luc Eymael.
Indeed, people would like to see actions being taken and the days of mere warnings are now over as such, it is better to have few playing venues which have got good pitches other than to have plenty of them with unfriendly arenas.
For this gesture, TPLB needs to be commended as they are showing that they are on the forefront fighting to make sure that the beautiful game unfolds on good pitches.
One day, everyone would be pleased to see that all league hosting venues have a quality pitch similar to the one at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium which enables teams to display quality football regardless whether they are at home or away.
However, until that day comes, one can climb at the peak of Kilimanjaro Mountain, the tallest mountain on the continent and announce to the whole world that Tanzania football has reached the promised land.
It should be known that the country has got many talented players who fail to showcase their venom due to available poor infrastructure hence time to improve on the pitches is now.
Though it is too early to conclude on the success or failure of this season’s top flight league this early promises stiff challenge and that is the beauty of football.