The new Mainland soccer league season kicks off at the weekend with all 14 teams in action.
As usual, only one team will be crowned champions at the end of the season in May next year others, with most others remaining in the top flight league and a few going down the relegation tunnel.
As always, Dar es Salaam archrivals Young Africans (Yanga) and Simba would like to resume their dominance regardless of the prowess of the rest of the participating teams.
But the bottom line here is that all teams need to win matches through hard work on the pitch, and not otherwise. Sadly, there have been ever-recurring cases of some teams of attempting to influence referees into bending rules for their benefit.
The Tanzania Football Federation is duty bound to ensure that the season opens and winds up without needless complaints, particularly relating to the crime known as match fixing.
Like all other sides, Simba and Yanga need to play hard and intelligently enough to earn early points to boost their title chances and justify potentiality of their newly signed players.
All teams must aim at playing soccer good enough to justify their victories if the proper meaning of victory is to prevail, but without forgetting that even drawing and losing fairly in dignity count for much in sports.
TFF would meanwhile have to stand reminded that it has the duty of ensuring that it does not default on creating a conducive environment for the league to run smoothly – by providing referees, match commissioners, etc., with whatever dues and other support they deserve.
A few unscrupulous referees have previously colluded with team officials to rig or manipulate match results as a way of landing extra income. That is corruption and ought to be with as such, but the reasons for such practice should be established and appropriately addressed.
The federation has often come under fire for delaying referees’ payments for no apparent reason, or for underpaying these all-important officials. It’s our strong belief that it has learned a lot and will work more efficiently this time around.
TFF needs to work in close cooperation with sponsors, at least to ensure timely payment of money due to match officials and other relevant parties or individuals.
No one can gainsay the fact that refereeing is a crucial role and referees ought to be handled with care to avoid disastrous consequences.
There is also the need for league fixtures to be respected instead of being unnecessarily adjusted, apparently for the convenience for particular teams.
Even more importantly, all stakeholders have the responsibility of maintaining peace and harmony at stadiums and elsewhere – before, during and after matches. Soccer stadiums should retain their status as places where people play and watch clean soccer.
Abusive language often degenerates into violence. It ought to be avoided to pave the way for respectable and enjoyable play.
Players, fans and officials all need to adopt the habit of accepting the results of the game in dignity, for soccer is not war.
We wish players, officials, and the entire soccer fraternity a successful 2012/2013 premiership season.