From Makambo to Aziz Ki:On player recruiting and PremierLeague ranking

22Jun 2022
Michael Eneza
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
From Makambo to Aziz Ki:On player recruiting and PremierLeague ranking

​​​​​​​PLAYER recruitment is high up in the air as the Premier League season draws to a close, even with some resting period while there are ‘overnight’ encounters to be finished virtually at the start of the new season, from what the pundits are explaining.

Heritier Makambo. PHOTO: COURTESY OF YANGA

One interesting feature of how the league season draws to a close is the series of likely encounters between the city rivals, where two are sort of listed, the FA Cup decider if both remain on their feet, the Charity Shield equivalent.

That is before the season starts with its litany of regional or quasi-regional competitions, and early city rivals’ fixtures in the new season.

One way in which the fans measure the capacities of the city rivals in particular, and other Premier League sides by extension, is when it comes to recruitment, first of players and in the choice of coaches.

What is a bit strange is that in this sphere the newly crowned champions have always made an effort to do as much as the veteran champion side, but then things did not usually go as expected.

There was a series of player shifts usually from Young Africans SC, alias Yanga, where the player would have been initially recruited, to cross the street once he has a clear picture of the sponsoring or welfare situations, in a few weeks of stay.

This recollection is of some significance in this pre-season environment where top Yanga recruitment officials appear to have sealed the likely inclusion of Stephane Aziz Ki, up to now playing for Ivory Coast's ASEC Mimosas, a player that admittedly even their next-door rivals were looking for.

The difference is that they were not in as much haste or excitement, and when they learned that their rivals were up the matter in earnest they tried to put their feet into the water but it was a bit late.

That, however, is where the trap is hidden, that hopefully the Yanga camp is well provided for by now, otherwise, he will not stay.

The contention between luring a player into recruitment and then failing to keep him for lack of excellent maintenance conditions was a source of not just rivalry (which relates to performance) but even outright indignity, intensifying emotional excesses in the rivalry.

The most intense such moment was the Bernard Morrison affair, which is just sliding into oblivion as other names turn up and change the agenda of the two clubs, while the player’s departure from Msimbazi Street club ranks rekindled speculation of a return to the other club, but they may have other options.

Welcoming back prodigal lovers is often too stern a test.

That aspect of the matter apart, there is also an issue of how far the teams the high-level players are joining compare with the clubs they are leaving, if they seek greener pastures as success in the clubs they were serving, or just succeed to find alternatives, having sunk in esteem in their previous clubs.

The most assured indication that the player is on a high success note is when a recruiting club plucks out a continuing player and pays the other club a fee to get him, but when a player leaves as a free agent, the scenario is a bit blurred.

There is a situation where he may be looking for a higher salary or was denied a new contract even if he was willing to obtain the same salary as earlier, other clubs appreciate his value.

Recruitment is an indicator of which club is higher and which is lower, for instance when Liverpool refuses to increase the 100,000 pounds a week that Sadio Mane was getting there, and Bayern Munich offers a more substantial salary.

It follows that the financial situation may be comparable between the two sides but Liverpool is more confident of its lineup and sees the Senegalese superstar in that bracket, to his chagrin, while Bayern, which has ipso facto a weaker side, more readily appreciates the player’s worth.

It is from such a perspective that one can view the transfer math for the Burkinabe international from ASEC Mimosas.

Aziz Ki by certain statistics is likely to be a fairly good but ordinary player at upper-level African Premier League clubs if one notes that he played for a Cyprus professional side in 2018/19, started or was included in six matches, and scored no goal.

That he could still earn the number 10 shirt at ASEC Mimosas would similarly indicate the level of the side, and for Yanga to seek his signature urgently is a note of ability over ASEC Mimosa at least.

In like manner, Heritier Makambo was recruited at his best to Horoya AC of Guinea, where he stayed for a while and later, easily found his way back to Yanga, likewise underlining the level of the team.

He has his ups and downs, as mid-last year the club side wanted to drop him, but the goal-getter had towards the end of the year, in a 4-0 win over Ihefu SC hit a rare hat-trick, definitely endearing himself to the club.

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