SportPesa, CAF experience shows why free registration is vital

28Jan 2019
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
SportPesa, CAF experience shows why free registration is vital

TANZANIAN leading clubs have lately experienced mixed fortunes in the African Champions League and in the regional SpotPesa tournament, the latter a more hurriedly executed event meant to pick a single regional side to play Everton in the betting company's calendar high note event. The good moment-

of relief was Simba SC getting the better of visiting JS Saoura by 3-0, while the worst moment was the local side's visit to Kinshasa, where they were handed a 5-0 drubbing. It showed that the squad has promise, but less depth and consistency.


What was also evident though not pointedly underlined by soccer pundits as the matches went on or in any of the subsequent analyses, is that the fans know the team, and don't place any specific focus or stress on whether each of the players is local, or how many foreigners it boasts. In that case we were pained by seeing Simba pace out that drubbing, and it wasn't important that AS Vita are likely to have fielded more foreign professional signings than the Msimbazi Street side. Each team fields the players it has, from wherever it signed them, simply.

Local soccer decision makers and the conservative opinion lobbies around them have constantly wished to preserve the local premier league for local players, and only gradually accepted the presence of foreign players. For decades the top clubs could not register more than three foreign players, which rose to seven a few years ago, but a year or two back the lobbies wanted to reduce the number to three once again, claiming that players were being hindered opportunities to play by foreign recruits. They said it harms the national team, Taifa Stars.

A knowledgeable local coach questioned these claims, providing an evidence-based arguments with premier league clubs and the national team. He showed that Dar Young Africans had the highest regular presence in Taifa Stars and the highest regular fielding of foreign players, which illustrates the fact that the presence of several professional players improves standards in a team. The players face greater challenge finding regular playing position and thus are forced to work harder, hone their skills in various ball movement task execution.

Getting thrashed is a painful moment for any side, in which case soccer decision makers should adopt the golden maxim championed by Chinese helmsman Deng Xiaoping, that "it doesn't matter if a cat is black or white so long as it catches mice." We should adopt the viewpoint that the premier league clubs need to be respected when they go out for CAF duty or regional tournaments, and coaches should be free to pick any available players. As it is in the UEFA system, players struggle to obtain playing time, and being a national is no advantage as the coach recruits or fields the most fit players. Competitive soccer leads to success, thus like DRC clubs, let us lift barriers to registering good players wherever we see them, so as to meet on more equal terms big clubs.














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