Impartiality a must in Mapinduzi Cup

18Jan 2016
The Guardian
Impartiality a must in Mapinduzi Cup

WITH the Mapinduzi Cup soccer tournament having been staged for ten back-to-back years, it’s high time the hosts made an in-depth review of the manner in which it is run.

The two-week-long championship, which is staged to mark the anniversary of the January 12, 1964 Zanzibar Revolution, has now assumed international proportions.
It’s a good tournament that opens the year and elicits excitement throughout the country, what with participation of teams from the likes of Kenya and Uganda.
Sadly, cases of poor officiating have kept tarnishing the tourney’s image. True, there has been no dispute from the hosts and other teams regarding the quality of the actual organisation; rather, it is what referees and their assistants have been doing on the field of play that leaves much to be desired.
This trend is appalling and if nothing is done to keep it under control, then this tourney might easily be shunned by visiting teams.
This year’s edition has been marred by biased officiating especially at the preliminary stages where almost every team voiced its complaints.
For any tournament to be honoured, fairness ought to prevail so as to meet satisfaction of competing sides. Teams should lose or win matches fairly and squarely for a tournament like this to win appreciation from players, fans and officials.
It’s of no use for match officials to become partial for the sake of favouring home-based teams without due regard to the level of performance.
The objective of staging such an event is not only marking the red-letter Day but also improving the standard of the game and providing entertainment to fans and other stakeholders in the game.
Fairness in officiating is generally crucial in improving the standard of soccer, but it would also help in boosting Zanzibar Football Association’s credibility internationally.
No wonder, teams from other parts of the continent besides East Africa might be interested in taking part in the tourney should the level of organising rise.
Though avoiding errors while the tourney is in progress may prove difficult, complaints must be kept to the minimum. It is undeniable that the level of officiating was awful in this year’s edition of the tourney, which is why we urge the organisers to do the most it will take to ensure improvement in next year’s edition.
The hiccups cited notwithstanding, we salute the Zanzibar government for staging such a big event for years on end without failure.
Though the title this time around eluded Tanzanian teams, landing in Uganda, still our teams competed well. This is especially so for those from Zanzibar and Pemba.
Accordingly, we believe this tournament should continue to be held every year in part to provide a meaningful gauge for Zanzibar soccer clubs and keep them in competitive shape.
As officiating has been a crucial problem in this tourney, then it is advisable that the Tanzania Football Federation should help hone the skills of some Zanzibar-based referees by deploying them in the Mainland premier soccer league at least two months ahead of Mapinduzi Cup.

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