THE Cairo’s based continent’s soccer governing body, the Confederation of African Football, CAF, has ordered the TFF to do the following two things; one, not to use Azam FC’s Chamazi football complex in its organised soccer tournaments and also not to allow fans into the stadium in its organised soccer tournaments.
What this means is that both Simba and Namingo FC who are still in the run in the continent’s Champions League and the CAF Confederation Cup tournaments would from now onwards have to play their home matches at the sprawling Benjamin William Mkapa Stadium.
Before CAF’s announcement, only Simba played its home matches at the Mkapa Stadium. Namungo had chosen the state of the art Chamazi soccer complex for its home matches. Of course, the country’s soccer-mad fans have understandably condemned CAF, especially for its ban on them from attending matches organised soccer tournaments.
However, when you consider CAF’s ban critically, the problem as always, lies with none other than our own federation officials. For the continental soccer body had long allowed us to reduce the number of fans attending such matches.
Unfortunately, their advice was as usual not heeded, and again we all know why we have and will continue to have these problems, this is because we have been electing people who lack the requisite seriousness for running soccer in this country.
Therefore, we are to swallow the bitter pill, we will have to because we failed to implement what we had long been told by the CAF to do, that is, to allow only a quarter or half of the fans to attend such matches. And the CAF is not stupid.
It simply watched the attendance of fans in the Simba, Al Ahly match in which the Cairo based club where CAF is also located being walloped at the glee of the fully packed Ben Mkapa stadium and decided to fix us.
Simply put, we played into their hands. Now we can say whatever we want, but they have slammed the door hard in our face; and you cannot blame them as no country in Africa is presently free from the coronavirus scourge. But one hopes that CAF is going to pay African clubs participating in the two clubs soccer tournaments compensation for their loss of revenue through the absence of fans from the stadia.
Indeed, if CAF wants to be respected for its orders, then it must also do its part which includes compensating clubs taking part in its organised soccer tournaments.
This is because most of these clubs are semi-professional. For instance, you cannot, in any way, compare African soccer clubs currently taking part in CAF’s organised soccer tournaments with their European counterparts which have for a very long time operated as business entities and enjoy massive sponsorship from multinational companies that includes the world’s leading high end motor production companies.
A local club like Namungu currently taking part in the CAF Cup soccer tournament is going to have a lot of problems in preparing its team for the on-going tournament due, partly, to loss revenue through the ban of fans from the stadia. Now from whom does CAF expect clubs like Namungo, which are more than half in the continent, to get money for preparing their team?
Does it expect their respective governments to do the job? If they expect clubs’ respective governments to provide such needy soccer clubs with money for preparing their teams, can governments also be allowed to ensure that the money they have provided is being put into good use? I have raised the latter question deliberately because both CAF and Fifa don’t allow governments to ‘meddle’ into soccer federations the world over.
But you cannot expect the government to provide a soccer club taking part in the continental club soccer tournament to provide money earned from tax payers without (the government) ensuring that such money is being put into good use.
And usually, meddling, in the eyes of both CAF and Fifa starts when the government which has just provided money to a given soccer federation or soccer club starts asking hard questions over the manner the money was spent by either the federation or the club.
But if CAF now expects governments to assist such soccer clubs, financially, then they will also have to allow governments to also ensure that the money they have provided to such clubs are also well spent, otherwise the CAF should not be allowed to exercise the proverbial saying of keeping the cake and eating it.
The other thing soccer clubs and in particular their spokespersons and journalists need to be very careful about is controlling their mouth. When Simba was about to take on Prisons, an Azam radio caster likened the match to biryani and one terrorist group.
Now we need to be very careful about our pronouncements. In fact, I’m surprised why the police did not question the journalist for comparing a match to the fight between a civilian and a terrorist group. Let us inject a sense of discipline and seriousness in our broadcasts.