THE Mainland Premier League is on with every team in the league having already played three matches.
And I’m excited with what I’m seeing, KMC perched at the apex having won all their three opening matches, followed by Azam FC, who have also won all their three matches but are behind KMC on goal difference. But this is not the first time that we are witnessing this kind of standing early in the league.
We have had this kind of scenario in the past times without number. But come midway in the league and early leaders end up in the tail end of the league standing and that is what I don’t like because it does not give good picture as far as soccer development and growth is concerned.
Teams that everyone expected to have occupied positions currently held by KMC and Azam FC, namely, Simba and Young Africans have been pushed down after dropping two points from three matches each.
For instance, Young Africans were first to be stopped by Tanzania Prisons who rely more on brawn power rather than skill and Simba followed after they forced a one all draw against a skillful and youthful side, Mtibwa Sugar.
Both traditional rivals should actually blame themselves for drawing against their opponents as they fluffed more goal opportunities than their respective opponents.
My readers would recall what I wrote on my sports columns barely two weeks ago over why our teams are increasingly becoming incapable of scoring goals. I said our teams will continue to have problems in getting their balls behind their opponents’ nets as long as they are incapable of threading faultless passes between and among them.
For scoring, I said, quoting one of my own mentors in this inky path, Jenerali Ulimwegu, is realized when a player gets his shot to the goal but away from the goalkeeper. Simply put, a goal is a pass that is not intended for the goalkeeper.
Now you cannot score a goal if you do two things; you shoot straight to the goalkeeper or off target out the net. Even if you shoot inside the goal, but in a way that the ball goes close to or straight to the goalkeeper, your chances of scoring a goal is likely to be minimal, unless the goalkeeper is poor, he will certainly stop you from scoring a goal.
Therefore, only teams that can thread their passes correctly and most of the time are likely to score more goals than those which cannot if we go by the principle that a goal is a pass that is not intended for the goalkeeper. As already noted, every team in the league has so far played three matches and only two teams, KMC and Azam have won all their first three games.
For the two teams to continue to lead in the league, they must ensure that they don’t lose or draw their subsequent matches.
That is the only way they can continue to remain where they are in the league. It is important for both teams to bear in mind that the struggle by other teams would be to beat or draw against them and that is what the Mainland Premier league is all about.
But there is a word of caution for both so called big guns, Simba and Young Africans and that is, if they don’t work, they may not get the three top positions in the league. What does that mean? It is very simple. If they continue to draw or lose matches, they will certainly not get to the top three positions.
Before the start of the league season, KMC had made it clear that this was their year, that they were going to win each and every match. Many who had cared to listen to their bragging thought what KMC were saying was not new. They had had similar bragging by other teams in the past.
But after three matches, KMC have lived to their vow. It is now a lingering challenge for other teams to prove wrong the Kinondoni based soccer club. As for Azam FC, the position they are currently perched on is not knew to them. They have held such position in the league many times.
They are times they went on to win the league but more often than not, they lost the league. The question is will they maintain and later capture the top spot and keep it to the end of the league? The proverbial time will tell. But for now, the really Mainland Premier League has finally started in earnest.
We will soon find out which managements had well invested in their teams. Teams that had ensured the presence of the right crop of players for this season would certainly do well in the league. But I would very much like small teams in the league to give the three big guns, Simba, Young Africans and Azam FC a run for their money.