People in leadership positions in soccer and other sports bodies in the country should be the first to condemn violence and hooliganism in sports.
They are expected, indeed obliged, to keep their interests and fanaticism aside and give priority to the need to maintain peace and harmony no matter whether teams or athletes of their choice win or lose.
Neither Young Africans (Yanga) nor Azam FC, both Mainland premier soccer league clubs, uttered a word of condemnation when their players descended on referees during recent league matches. This was regrettable.
It was also queer that soon after a Tanzania Football Federation committee ruled that Yanga players were in the wrong, the team swiftly lodged an appeal for the annulment of the measures taken by the committee.
Azam, who won their violence-marred duel, meanwhile kept dead quiet as if nothing wrong had happened. It was equally strange.
This odd behaviour apart, we did not hear a word from the Dar es Salaam Regional Football Association, the National Sports Council or soccer players or officials where retired or still active.
It is imperative for officials to condemn such incidents so as to groom a generation of disciplined players taking the game seriously.
Frequent or instant condemnation of such ugly incidents is a sure tool for perpetual upgrading of players’ discipline and commitment to the game set to gradually minimise the prevalence of similar episodes in the future.
Denouncing the incidents will ensure the right message easily reaches, and leaves an impression on, making them reform.
The way Yanga officials have handled the matter, particularly in rushing to lodge a protest against the penalties and suspensions imposed on their players, implied that they condoned the misbehaviour or even applauded it.
Condemnation followed by disciplinary measures within the club itself would have portrayed the Tanzanian soccer as a disciplined lot that cares for and lives the FIFA-endorsed rules of the game.
Doing so would have helped in build a generation of players able to keep their cool and maintain discipline even under intense pressure and stiff opposition.
Condoning or ignoring these undesirable incidents will prove costly in the future, with up-and-coming players also likely to misbehave without thinking of the consequences.
Premier league players and officials stand as role models to be emulated by young players aspiring to work their way into national or world stardom.
This would slowly but surely erode the integrity and sabotage the competence of national teams and players of the future.
We suppose violence of the gravity demonstrated during Yanga versus Azam encounter would have been dealt in a different and better way had it been Taifa Stars playing an international match.
But clubs are supposed to ensure their players behave properly regardless of whether they feature for the clubs or the national team. Players’ discipline should not be seasonal or rotational.
occer and other sports boast millions of fans the world over and ought to be protected from falling into disrepute. Players and officials must remember that the sports sub-sector is a reliable source of employment for those according it the respect it deserves.