It is difficult for foreign football players to pass trials in Tz

14Jan 2022
Nassir Nchimbi
The Guardian
It is difficult for foreign football players to pass trials in Tz

​​​​​​​MAKING a trip to Tanzania for trials at the country's renowned outfits, Simba SC and Yanga, is probably the most difficult move done by a soccer player.

Simba SC's Ivorian winger, Cheikh Moukoro (L), speeds past Zanzibar's Selem View FC player when the clubs locked horns in a 2022 Mapinduzi Cup match in Zanzibar on January 5.

The footballer has little chance of performing well in the trials and securing a move to either of the two clubs.

There are three foreign players attending trials at Simba SC that, later yesterday evening, confronted Azam FC in the 2022 Mapinduzi Cup final in Zanzibar.

The footballers are Sudanese, Sharaf Shiboub, Nigerian David Udoh, and Ivorian Cheick Ahmed Tenena Moukoro.

On the first day a foreign soccer player will feature in a game, he will find out fans are eagerly awaiting him.

The soccer lovers are eagerly awaiting the player to see whether he is good or not and the followers comment on the player's competence on their terms.

They do not take an outfit's technical bench's criteria into consideration.

Even the outfit's officials do the same, they hardly consider the criteria set by either coach or the technical bench.

The soccer fanatics' first criterion is the soccer player's ability to play football.

The followers are normally impressed with a soccer player's ability to execute stylish nutmegs, dribbles, drills, and other skills that are out of this world.

Soccer fans do not know what they want from the player. The coach may know what he wants, but the rest do not know.

The coach may want an intelligent midfielder, a midfielder who quickly executes passes and launches a quick attack, a central midfielder who knows how to be in the right place at the right time.

Football experts call it tactical awareness. A side may have a player who has a lot of talent, but he has no tactical awareness.

There are so many things. The coach and his staff on the technical bench may see a player with these qualities, but fans and officials may not notice them because the player in question is not very exciting and aggressive.

As a result, the player is denied a contract. But then there is a player who can be sure of his talent.

Unfortunately, he finds himself in a new country, new people, new environment, new food, new climate, everything is new to him.

He needs time to get used to the environment before he shows his edge. Edges may exist, but he still needs time.

I know of many foreign players who would have been denied a contract if they had come to Tanzania on trials.

A simple example is a midfielder, Tadeo Lwanga. He terminated his contract with an Egyptian club and started playing for Simba SC in the previous Mapinduzi Cup.

The footballer appeared to be a normal player. Simba SC enthusiasts started asking each other if the outfit had made a poor signing.

The worst thing was fans of Simba SC's rivals, Yanga, and some of the outfit's officials teased the midfielder.

Luckily Lwanga had a contract. Slowly he began to prove his worth.

The more he got used to the environment, the more he showed his edge.

He later became a mainstay of the club. Some players need something like this.

When did football followers in Tanzania know the importance of former Simba SC's Brazilian midfielder, Gerson Fraga?

If the midfielder had come for trials I do not think he would have passed the trials. Luckily he had a contract in hand. The player's importance came into view later.

When forward Donald Ngoma joined Yanga he appeared to be a normal striker.

Some fans mocked the forward by comparing him to one of Yanga's former strikers, Idd Mbaga, who failed at the club.

The followers claimed they did not see the difference between Ngoma and Mbaga.

Ngoma later emerged as one of the best attackers in Tanzania. I think his success came about after he had worked hard in practice at a time some Yanga fans were comparing him to Mbaga.

If Ngoma was on trial, Yanga leaders would have abandoned him.

Some players become more stable once they get used to the environment.

Much as Simba SC saw Mozambican winger Jose Luis Miquissone's brilliance when he was turning out for UD Songo, some of the former's supporters started comparing him to a local winger, Shiza Kichuya, once Miquissone started at a slow pace once he joined the club.

If he had come for a trial it is no wonder some followers would have consulted the outfit and suggested the club should opt-out of roping him in.

Luckily he had a contract with the club and he began to shine. This is the difficulty existing in the country's football.

Yanga recently brought in Mozambican midfielder, Jimmy Julio Ukonde, for trials. In my eyes, he is a good player, but he needed time.

And if he had met competent foreign professionals including Fiston Mayele, Djuma Shabani, Jesus Moloko, and others, who came to Yanga later, it would not be a surprise he would have been much better.

However, Yanga put Ukonde to the test with players who are not quite competent, he also looked normal as the team was not playing well.

However, his possession of the ball was of a high standard. He had unique qualities on his feet. Unfortunately, he came in for trials.

Football supporters fail to understand the science of football. The most important thing right now is for leaders to focus more on expanding the scope of making scouts confident with the player they are seeking to rope in.

When they opt out of handing such a player contract they have nothing to experiment with.

In Tanzanian football, a good player can be cut off from trials after playing for 15 minutes in a game.

It would be better for sides to thoroughly assess the footballer and then give the player a contract.

Even if he could not impress in the first match, the outfit's leaders know there is something to look forward to when the player stays and perform well in his next game.

In Europe, many tests are performed on young players. Ghanaian Michael Essien, for example, had been to Manchester United when was a youthful footballer.

What they are looking for is a chance to take the player and put him in the youth team seeking an opportunity to play for the senior team.

They are looking for a variety of qualities on the pitch and their decisions will look more like whether it would be a good idea to invest in the player in question for future use, or if they will be able to develop the youngster elsewhere.

Others being tested are players who have already shown their potential in place but found themselves without a team for a relatively short period due to either injuries or termination of their contracts elsewhere.

Domestic outfits are testing footballers who were first-team players in their previous outfits.

Why do outfits not opt-out of taking impromptu decisions and go watch footballers play to be satisfied with their standards?

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