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Badilisha Lugha KISWAHILI

We should all support our teams much more

28th May 2012
Editorial Cartoon

With the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifier series getting under way throughout the African continent, the Tanzania Football Federation must work hard to convince domestic fans to fill the stands at the National Stadium during home legs.

Having the stands filled to capacity would serve as a morale booster to the players, who would be performing on our behalf.

Winning at home is crucial in such qualifiers and we should make use of this advantage to create extra motivation for the home team.

We might have a weak team but filling the stands is important in that it would intimidate at lest some of the visitors, with the game going in our favour.

All over the world, home fans usually support their teams rather than resort to booing them as is commonly experienced in our country during international matches played in our backyard.

TFF has the daunting task of creating modalities to end the shortage of fans inside our stadiums as happened during last weekend’s friendly against Malawi.

It’s time we organised ourselves better and focused more on ways to support our team during international competitions. We should sideline club and other differences setting us apart and instead stand together for the common goal of achieving better decent results and raising the standard of our soccer.

Ahead of us are three crucial international qualifier matches to be played at home and as many on foreign soil. Should TFF and soccer lovers make full use of the home ground advantage, then the onus would be on players to reciprocate the support by doing likewise.

Tanzania has never competed at FIFA World Cup stage and no one knows what is in store for our team and well prepared our opponents are.

We are due to encounter Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia and Morocco at the group stage and we need to learn overcome fear and forget all about the likelihood of our being underdogs.

Fans need work on their behaviour by demonstrating greater patriotism, which should help us fight to the last with every hope of emerging triumphant.

Come to think of it, what is the use of a foreign team beating us just because we are divided along club and whatever other lines? Club politics should not be given a chance to prevail over us, particularly with respect to soccer – a game with millions of fans across our country.

Tanzanians’ obsession for the game is well known and everyone should be dying to see Taifa Stars and our clubs realise our dreams.

The only acceptable explanation for the fact that our country has been falling steeply in FIFA rankings should be that we are technically not up to the mark yet, and not because there is too little support for our teams for comfort – which happened to be the case during last year’s East and Central African Challenge Cup.

Soccer matches normally last 90 minutes or thereabouts. What is the cost of cheering for such a short duration and only later resume our customary jokes about Yanga and Simba, etc., while our teams have posted crucial points or even lifted a cup worth kissing? It’s some food for thought.

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