AS Kigoma region prepares to host the heavyweight Azam Sports Federation Cup (ASFC) finals between Simba and Young Africans on July 25th, it is time to reflect on success stories recorded by deploying such games in regions which do not have premier league teams.
The journey to reach this far has been too long as teams which reached the top stage did their level best to continue splinting to the finishing line but, at some point on the way ran out of gas and parked the bus.
At the start, the road was wide but as the march went on, it was getting narrower no wonder four teams emerged to play in the semifinals, which produced two finalists and one of them is going to give up the race for the other to finish and win the crown.
Simba and Yanga rarely meet in final encounters as they usually settle their differences in the top flight league, where they battle for the maximum three points to consolidate their space on the table.
The last time they met in the finals was in January this year when they battled for the Mapinduzi Cup trophy in Zanzibar of which Yanga managed to win after a 4-3 post match triumph.
This is therefore going to be the second time in one season for the giant teams to square off in a finale, whose champion get an opportunity to represent the country in the decorated CAF Confederation Cup.
As such, it was Simba who surrendered the victory to their opponents hence, are they going to let it go once again this time around? Anything in a game of football can happen and the final whistle always becomes the good judge of the completed case.
However, this time around, the business is different since the winner on the day will go back home with a glittering ASFC silverware grabbed in front of their long time traditional rivals and here is where the boiling point of the finale comes from.
On paper, each team has what it takes to defeat the other and win the title but the clash still remain a hard to predict affair as such, at the end of 90 minutes or so of play, either of them will smile for the good job well done.
Frankly speaking, the legacy of Simba and Yanga will continue to be passed from one generation to another for many years to come putting in consideration that until now, no team in the country has managed to surpass any of them in terms of popularity.
That is why when the two sides go to play at any part of the country; they always seize the show through attracting scores of people regardless of age, religion, race and even gender.
Now, going back to the main subject, there are many success stories which have been written from the syndrome of deploying ASFC matches from the semifinals stage to different areas which do not have premier league sides.
This season, already two regions which are Tabora and Ruvuma have benefited from this trend after excelling to host Yanga and Simba in their last four decisive games.
At Ali Hassan Mwinyi Stadium in Tabora, the venue has now put on a new face capable to stage a big encounter as such; it is now up to the residents of this region to make sure that they take good care of the renovated pitch.
Likewise, at Majimaji Stadium in Songea, Ruvuma, people should take an initiative of putting the stadium in a good shape in order to make it remain in a playable state for a long time. In his recent remarks, the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Competition Director Salum Madadi conceded that sending ASFC matches to less privileged football regions has helped a lot to promote awareness in such areas so that in the end, they should actively engage in football.
“To the federation, I can say our target has succeeded 100 percent in a sense that we have promoted these regions and give them the required confidence to host any domestic match. “For instance, at Nelson Mandela Stadium in Sumbawanga, Rukwa where last season’s ASFC finals were played, they now enjoy premier league football after Tanzania Prisons opted to use it as their home ground venue. “These are the positive things we need to see so that premier league football should be disseminated evenly to all parts across the country,” Madadi narrated.
It is also alleged that Dar es Salaam based KMC have requested to use Majimaji Stadium in Songea as their home territory for their top flight league next season and if they succeed, it will also be influenced by the ASFC.
Now, with the final breaks to be applied in Tabora, some teams which will trade in the top flight league next season should see it as the best chance to determine if they can too be interested to use the region as their base for the oncoming premier league clashes.