Tanzania: When CAF Level Duels Put Vpl Under Magnifier

FOR debutants Namungo, they have gained a big experience from the CAF Confederation Cup, despite succumbing to a three -match loss in their maiden bid for continental football conquest. Though they began their group stage campaign with a 1-0 loss to mighty Raja Casablanca before losing 2-0 to Egypt's Pyramids and 1-0 to Nkana of Zambia in their two-home matches in Dar es Salaam, Namungo, as opposed to Simba who stamped a perfect run in their CAF Champions League matches, fought well and showed maturity in their matches, only lack of experience let them down. The players who gave problems to the three African giants, majority of them never played for their national teams. They fielded many players who didn't have international matches' exposures, but surely they will be far better at the end of the tournament. Guided by their Burundian custodian, Jonathan Nahimana, who played brilliantly, Namungo players also had an entertaining play in all their matches from the preliminary round to the play off and the ongoing Confederation Cup's group stage. Regular players like Lucas Kikoti, Reliant Lusajo, Haruna Shamte, Carlos Protas, Steven Duah, Sixtus Sabilo, Eric Kwizera, Adam Salamba or Iddi Kipagwile must have gained much from all the outings, and hopefully they won't be the same after the end of the tournament.

Their experience in the tournament as seen by many, might later help improve the competitiveness in the team and the league itself.

But worth to consider in Namungo's shacky start and Simba's classy performance is that their outings have in reality depicted the level and quality of players who dominate the Mainland Premier League, and in a few words, the value of the league itself.

Under a magnifying glass, the two teams have exposed to the continent and the world at large the values of the league and the investment injected as the two teams were the best in their categories.

Crystal clear, the best from the Mainland Premier League is seen at Simba, who didn't concede a goal in their 390-minute play during the group stage of CAF Champions League, that tells clearly that they are formidable in all sections; defence, middle of the terrain and attacking, which saw them notch 9 goals while conceding only once until the end of their match-5 of Champions League.

The analysts of African football saw the Zambian midfield maestro Clatous Chama and the flying winger Luis Miquissone as the pillar heads of the team's success. Also being sought from Simba after a brilliant show is custodian Aishi Manula, who proved to be Simba's safest hands that helped the club to sparkle in the continental class showpiece.

Though internationally it is Simba and Namungo on Tanzanian football podium, there are Young Africans and Azam as major players in the local league. The two teams are enjoying the top-three position in the Premier League and both boast a good number of quality imports.

The presence of many imports has not only helped Simba and Namungo, but the two other Dar es Salaam giants too. They had a point. Indeed, to spend much money in buying quality players paid during Mapinduzi Cup when Young Africans defeated Simba to clinch the trophy and then went on to hold Simba to a 1-1 draw during their first Dar es Salaam derby at Benjamin Mkapa stadium.

The big lesson here is that, Simba with the richest squad, faced a hard time at the home league when their very expensive squad lost two matches in the league against nondescript sides! Simba lost 1-0 to Tanzania Prisons and later lost by a similar margin to Ruvu Shooting.

What does this mean? It is simple, the quality of their squad is not reflected by their heavy investment, rather it arguably shows there is improvement in Simba's league opponents.

What clubs like Simba, Young Africans, Azam and other wealthy clubs should do is to get quality players, and not just any player who comes from outside Tanzania.

Getting players of a low caliber after spending more than the true value of the players, would be extremely wasteful for such a club as they won't help it anyhow.

Simba, Young Africans and Azam need to be extremely careful when it comes to buying foreign players. Foreign players are a product, a commodity just like any commodity and they carry their price tags. Even if they fail to do well in certain games, they will bring a lot of experience just by playing in the country.

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