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How discipline, determination uplift players status

TAIFA Stars scored their first victory in the CHAN soccer tournament after beating Namibia by a lone goal through Young Africans’ striker, Farid Mussa, in the 66th minute of the match.

After a short stay in Spain where he failed to make up in the professional rank, the Zanzibari now appears determined to once more, make his entry into top-flight soccer in Europe through his sterling performance in the national soccer team.

After his return to Tanzania, the young man is reported to have asked Mbwana Samatta how he could make it back to the professional ranks in Europe; and Samatta is said to have told him to join Yanga rather than his own former club, Simba, if he wanted to make the requisite grade into Taifa Stars and the boy has started to work for his future.

But Taifa Stars with the likes of Farid Mussa and company will however, now have to work extremely hard against joint Group D leaders, Guinea (with Zambia’s Chipolopolo) in their last match if they want to get into the last sixteen.

Both Zambia and Guinea share four points, after winning their first matches against Tanzania and Namibia respectively and playing their last, but one match in a one all draw. Zambia were lucky to have equalised in the last three minutes of the match against Guinea which appears to be the stronger team in the Group D.

But going by Taifa Stars’ performance in their last two matches against Zambia and Namibia, they are not bad. The only problem they have is the absence of a strong midfielder. Had they had a person like Simba’s Mkude, they could have done better. Their second problem is in the scoring.

If they can only settle in their last, very important match against Guinea, they could easily have what it takes to beat the west Africans. In fact, Taifa Stars should not have lost their first match against Zambia. They were better than their counterparts in each and every department, except of course, in their scoring.

They fluffed numerous scoring chances. Their Burundian coach, Etienne Ndayiragije, will have to work hard on his strikers who have failed in both matches to settle down and score.

But today I would like to discuss one important thing which lacks in our local players, especially from Tanzania Mainland, namely, the all-important drive to concentrate on and play football and nothing else. I have just spoken about Mkude’s absence from CHAN. It is a big gaping hole.

But you cannot blame anyone, except the player, Mkude. He could not be picked by the Burundian tactician because he had not been playing for Simba. But as we all know, Mkude was suspended for reasons best known to him. But what we all know is that he has already asked his employers, Simba for forgiveness.

Mkude is one of the players I have always strongly believed that had he concentrated on football, he would have long been playing in Europe. There is absolutely no doubt that the Simba player is one of the best midfielders in he country.

But he has failed to shine beyond our borders because of his own lack of seriousness on the game. Yet this is not a problem confined to Mkude per se. We have had these problems with many, highly talented Tanzania Mainland players. The other player is Simba’s Ajib. This is a player who should be playing in Europe.

But he is still in Tanzania because there is something not right with him. If Ajib can put everything in football, he will turn around Simba’s fortunes. If players like Ajib, Mkude were putting their all in soccer, Simba would not have had to buy foreign players.

These players need to be pushed to work hard and change our country’s soccer. We already have the players, what is needed is for the players we have to wake up from their deep slumber and show the world how talented and skillful they are.

When former Young Africans right winger, Simon Msuva was first selected to play for the national soccer team, he is reported to have asked the man responsible for allotting rooms to players to pair him with Mbwana Samatta who was then playing professional soccer for DRC’s (Democratic Republic of Congo) TP Mazembe.

Whenever they retired to their room, Msuva would ask Samatta what he needed to do to also play for top flight foreign clubs like him. Samatta simply told him to work hard on his game. Working very hard on one’s game means listening to what your coach is telling you to do and working harder in training.

The end result is that no coach would bench you. We all saw how Msuva changed even before his departure for Morocco. He would become one of the most loyal player for his club. And when the Moroccans came for him, we all saw how his club cooperated without a hitch.

No local club can block its most loyal player if he is asked by a foreign club. Our local clubs ultimately want to make business through selling their players abroad. In the same vein, I would like to talk about Zanzibar players. They are somewhat different, in attitudes, to Tanzania Mainland players.

More often than not, they are more disciplined. Take Nadir Haroub ‘Canavaro’ as a case in point. He played for Yanga and Taifa Stars as a skipper for ten years. The other Zanzibari player is Aggrey Morris who has retired from the national team three weeks ago. He also played for Taifa Stars for over a decade.

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