PL strikers dynamics aloof

TANZANIA: THE recent Golden Boot race in the country has drawn surprise attention from football veterans. 

The race saw surprising leadership by attacking midfielders, with Stephane Aziz Ki of Young Africans and Azam’s Feisal Salum claiming the top positions.

This sparked discussions among football stakeholders, shedding light on the challenges faced by strikers in modern football.

The ‘Daily News on Saturday’ spoke with several veterans, including former Simba’s winger Dua Said, former Stand United and Alliance Coach Athuman Bilal, and former Ruvu Shooting Coach, Joseph Kanakamfumu.

They highlighted how the old days of traditional strikers have passed and emphasized the need for modern strikers to adapt. According to them, the modern football requires strikers to be versatile, move around the field, seek the ball, and be proactive in their attacking play.

Athuman Bilal attributed the trend to the evolving nature of the game, where anyone on the field can contribute to goal-scoring opportunities.

“Let’s expect a centre-back will become a top scorer one day due to the playing style,” he stated.

Dua Said identified the lack of proficient modern strikers as a significant issue in the previous season. He explained that many number 9s across various clubs are not adapting to modern football tactics, resulting in midfielders and wingers taking on the goal scoring responsibilities.

“Many number 9s across various clubs are not adapting to modern football tactics, resulting in midfielders and wingers taking on the goal-scoring responsibilities,” he said.

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He also noted that strikers thrive in environments where they feel valued, supported, and encouraged by fans, coaching staff, and club management.

“Positive reinforcement, public recognition, and fan support can boost strikers’ morale and motivation, inspiring them to perform at their best and strive for Golden Boot glory,” he said.

Joseph Kanakamfumu emphasized the impact of developing football systems on goal-scoring opportunities. He highlighted the shift from traditional formations that favoured strikers to modern systems that allow every player on the field to contribute to goalscoring.

While midfielders have traditionally been valued for their playmaking abilities rather than goal-scoring prowess, the emergence of a new type of midfielders with versatility and goalscoring instincts has reshaped the game’s landscape.

The stakeholders agree that clubs must invest in the training and development of strikers to enhance their technical skills and goal-scoring efficiency, ensuring a more competitive and balanced NBC Premier League season in the future. On the race Ki, a midfielder for Yanga, emerged the Golden Boot Winner, netting impressive 21 goals throughout the season.

Azam’s Salum followed closely with 19 goals, while Kinondoni Municipal Council (KMC) striker Waziri Junior trailed behind with 12 goals.

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This marks the first time a midfielder has claimed the top spot in the Golden Boot race in years, breaking the streak of previous years dominated by strikers.

In the 2022/23 season, former Jangwani-based player Fiston Mayele and Simba’s attacking midfielder Saido Ntibazonkinza shared the top spot with 17 goals each. Similarly, in the 2021/22 season, former Geita Gold striker George Mpole finished on top with 18 goals, closely followed by Fiston Mayele with 17 goals.

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