City rivals lacked clear training stint strategies in North Africa

23Aug 2021
Michael Eneza
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
City rivals lacked clear training stint strategies in North Africa

REPORTS being heard from the training camps of the city rivals, Simba SC and Yanga, who are having separate venues of a combination of vacation and intense training for the Premier League season, as well as continental tournaments are mixed, to say the least.

Yanga's players attend training in Morocco last week to shape up for the next season's Mainland Premier League fixtures. PHOTO: COURTESY OF YANGA

There was no question that the players would be relishing the change of air, even if they are in a camp environment away from their families and immediate relations, but both the vacation and the training have a cutting edge to them.

The choice of location, if there was one as different from some sort of contractual enforcement, was decidedly adverse, not in their best interests.

Anyone familiar with how holidays are designed knows that those who come from cold regions at that particular moment wish for a cooler place to soothe their feelings for a while, and vice versa.

What is surprising about this vacation-cum-training stint is that it is set in the reverse, where the city rivals moved from a cooler but still somewhat taxing environment for afternoon training in particular, not to a cooler zone as in the tourist centers of the northern zone, or cooler cities in Southern Africa.

Instead, they went to North Africa in torrid summer (as August is the hottest month in the season), to fill vacant hotel rooms.

It is unlikely that there was no such strategy in how the training stints were planned, in the sense that the counterpart Premier League sides who invited them there as part of exchanging cash and gifts for a traded player, put across this element as a negotiable input to concluding the haggling involved.

What is rather interesting here is to look at how far this shows the balance of strength between the two sides, the local rivals who both accepted to camp in torrid Moroccan cities, and the player buyers who put up this rather innovative input to the commerce they were conducting. On the face of it, they appear to have beaten us.

An ideal training camp for either of the city rivals would have been in a cooler environment, as they don’t gain anything trying to be capable of playing under extremely hot conditions as North Africa is likely to be in mid-August.

It is about the worst time of the year to visit any country in the middle belt of the Northern Hemisphere, with temperatures almost constantly hovering at 40oC to 45oC.

In France for instance, all public offices are closed during the second half of August but police stations and hospitals.

To grasp how this transaction was conducted or concluded, it is not sufficient to look at the issue from the city rivals’ viewpoint, as here one shall see that they had considerable need of the finances from selling the players.

What the other side did was to break that amount into pieces, and a portion of it be spent right at their place, via a training stint for the side – which those who are familiar with disputed contracts relating to foreign aid – know that this is a revolving door.

The money is given only to be spent at that same place, and, for club-related interests, that is, their sponsors.

In theory therefore the Moroccan clubs financed a training stint for each of the city rivals at home, and in local imagination that amounts to a pleasurable trip outside, as well as doing intense exercise for the coach to start mapping out whom to play and where, what to correct in players, etc.

That could have been done elsewhere, at a more comfortable location where players can train for up to three hours of training in the afternoon, light or heavy, without any complaints about their ability to endure – or to fail to enjoy their holidays.

That is what the summer visits are meant to be, like enjoyment and a measure of physical engagement, where the tone is always on the pleasure side, but it was scarcely so for this visit.

Reports say that Yanga head coach, Nassredine Nabi, had to alter some elements in his training schedule, to cancel afternoon training altogether.

Evenings were meant for resting and visiting places, as afternoons are torrid, the streets or public places not so exciting until the evening. It was a jolting experience, this.

It is unclear if any blame was being traded in training areas, which perhaps was mitigated for Yanga as the coach comes from that country, and ought to have known what are the eight months or hours for conduct training, instead of having to be pushed to make alterations.

As for Simba, the fact that Yanga did the same implies that they shouldn’t be blamed either, but it is possible that in the future they may not choose that kind of scenario.

A training stay at some country club in the northern circuit with a good training pitch would have done better, and at most, shifting sights to South Africa, perhaps topping up the bill, it would conceivably make the trip more expensive for the two clubs but more enjoyable. Cheers.

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