Biashara United relegation a window into potentials of local clubs

04Jul 2022
The Guardian
Biashara United relegation a window into potentials of local clubs

SEVERAL Premier League analysts appear to have had a difficult time absorbing the factual relegation of Biashara United from the top flight into what is known as the Championship. 

Biashara United's players participate in training in Mara to shape up for the 2021/22 Premier League and CAF Confederation Cup fixtures. PHOTO: COURTESY OF BIASHARA UNITED

The difficulty arises from the fact that the club did well in the previous season to appear among the top four, and given the sequence of good performance of then-champion Simba SC, participated in the second tier of the continental championship.

They put up a good performance in the CAF Confederation Cup tournament.

One pundit for instance tried to map out what Al Ahly Tripoli would either feel or react to hearing that their opponents in the Confederation Cup, who gave them a difficult time, had been relegated from the Premier League here. 

The Libyan side is likely to be astonished at the news, which for once makes it that the Premier League is an especially difficult tournament if hard hitters of the previous year failed to put up a sufficient fight to remain in the tournament.

But the likely difficulty of the league does not explain everything, as it is also likely that there was vision adjustment, even a sentiment of relaxation.

For starters, Biashara United was founded in 1990 as Police Mara and in 2013 it was transformed into a civilian club side, renamed Biashara United Mara (BUM), having moved from the fourth division in 1995 to the First Division in 1997, which became the Premier League the following year. 

The change in the pattern of ownership and management of the club had to do with changing rules, especially in the continental and world federation, FIFA, limiting institutional clubs to one.

In that sense, there is one police team and one prisons team, and in the military there is a National Service side, to avoid any duplication.

This situation brings up the first enigma, of why a club that rose rapidly to the Premier League, did well to come to the top four in the 2020/21 season to feature in the second-tier continental tourney, could lose bearings so much as to be relegated.

In the absence of any ‘investigative reporting on the ins and outs of what happened at the club, a few pertinent aspects are observable from the outside, and it would appear that the key issue was on the business side.

It appears that the club never settled for the big time, just managed to be in the Premier League, and at times showed nervous weaknesses in CAF appearances.

One significant factum in the record is that the club side changed their head coach from Francis Baraza to Patrick Odhiambo, both Kenyan tacticians, with the second recruitment at that time being an assistant coach at hard hitters Kakamega Homeboys.

Before exiting the side in May 2021, the former coach had to project that the side opens their account for the new season by facing debutants Gwambina FC on September 6, seeking to put into play a different strategy.

As he left with a month or so to the conclusion of the season, and the side clinched the fourth position at the last minute, his departure cost the club.

He was offered the same position at Kagera Sugar, a club with more assured financial backing, and within weeks his impact at the new club was visible to all and sundry.

He was named Coach of the Month for January 2022 in the NBC Premier League, while his former side, picking an assistant from the other side of the border not far from their Musoma home base, was going downhill, which implies that their earlier good performance was that they a good coach.

As the market rules, he was soon taken away by others, and their efforts to find a substitute did not hit on a lucky find as it was in their earlier recruiting hit.

The better coach effect was visible in other teams, not just in the local Premier League but everywhere, while recruiting such a coach is one thing – as one can’t tell who may succeed and who might find it more difficult.

Retaining the coach for several years, or registering initial success in the first year is not the easiest thing around.

In the past season, Simba SC had mixed results, Yanga was on cloud nine.

This way, it is not easy to blame Biashara United for botching up the Premier League season, as they definitely couldn’t have changed their resource base too rapidly to obtain some speedy forwards in the short registration window, or cut their second coach tenure within a couple of months after coming in, etc.

Depending on their resource base they could climb back to the Premier League, but experience shows that the ‘conference’ is brimming with experienced ‘starters,’ the way Ihefu SC has bounced back to the top flight.

It just needs to reorganize itself, but with other misdemeaours haunting them, it will be tough.

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