First, a cliché: Victory in sports and most other activities or engagements often begin with – and are thanks to – effective preparations, including ensuring maximum discipline.
For the past one week, the Tanzanian media have been awash with reports revolving around a soccer player alleged to have broken a curfew of sorts declared by his premiership team – Simba SC.
Indications are that the player, Taifa Stars centre back Kelvin Yondani, deserted his team’s camp to sign a contract with the side’s archrivals – Young Africans SC (better known as Yanga).
Yanga officials have been bragging about having “secured” the player’s signature ahead of Kagame Cup and new Mainland premiership season.
Whether the player is on free transfer or otherwise is not the main concern at the moment. What seems to matter most is the paradox over how such an outstanding player managed to escape from the Taifa Stars camp, as the team trained ahead of yesterday’s crucial 2014 World Cup qualifier tie against Gambia.
Many believe that, whether what happened resulted from fanaticism or failure by the Taifa Stars manager to ensure the curfew held for all players, Yondani’s defection is hard to understand.
All people really caring for professionalism would have expected the player to have been expelled from the camp soon after it was proved that he had so misbehaved, no matter how good he may be.
It came as no surprise that Godfrey Taita was dropped from the Kilimanjaro Stars soccer team (the Mainland side) during last year’s Council of East and Central Africa Football Association (CECAFA) for similar misconduct.
The cost of tolerating such gross indiscipline can be extremely costly in more ways than one.
Neither should investigations into how Yondani deserted training camp taken long nor indeed was intervention by the Tanzania Football Federation president Leodgard Tenga necessary.
All players in a team’s training camp ought to stay and stick together, at least for purposes of enhancing team spirit.
Any double standards in the way players are treated would be a recipe for disaster in that disrespect for team officials and the team itself would take root and undermine unity and performance.
It is also noteworthy Taifa Stars includes young players likely to learn from their more experienced teammates – and what lessons would they learn from older colleagues not showing a good example?
Our view is that Taifa Stars officials, including the head coach and the team manager, have taken too long to work on Yondani’s case.
We don’t see why TFF had to form a committee to investigate the circumstances under which the player sneaked out of training camp. Surely, it was practically impossible for such a thing to happen unbeknownst to his teammates, the team, etc|.
Underlining the importance of discipline within Taifa Stars players and officials is most fundamental if we are really keen to build a competent team.
We wish the team all the best in their FIFA World Cup qualifier campaign while reminding all concerned that our efforts to realise glory will remain a wild-goose chase unless we care for discipline and cohesion. There is no shortcut.