NBC Premier League clubs' choice of home venues ought to consider fans

30Nov 2021
Nassir Nchimbi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
NBC Premier League clubs' choice of home venues ought to consider fans

THIS season's NBC Premier League has witnessed the Tanzania Premier League Board (TPLB) allow the sides choose to hold one of their home matches in any of other regions.

Kagera's Kaitaba Stadium.

The TPLB made it clear that top-flight outfits have been allowed to hold one of their two home matches to other regions.

This is why Dar es Salaam's Kinondoni Municipal Council FC opted to hold its league fixture against Yanga at Ruvuma's Majimaji Stadium.

Coast Region-based Ruvu Shooting chose Mwanza's CCM Kirumba to hold its league fixture against Simba SC for the second time in a row.

It is very strange to see a club established by Kinondoni Municipal Council choose to host its home tie in Songea, Ruvuma, that is, the outfit left Dar es Salaam and went to entertain the residents of Ruvuma.

Similarly, Ruvu Shooting, a Coast Region club, was forced to hold one of its home matches in Mwanza to follow strict Club Licensing regulations.

Coast Region soccer fanatics, some of whom contribute to Ruvu Shooting's well-being, consequently miss an opportunity to attend the outfit's games in the region.

That is not limited to Ruvu and KMC FC, but many clubs, some of which are participating in Championship, which was previously termed as First Division League.

Even Tanzania Prisons, which was established as Mbeya Prisons but now owned by Prisons Department, has now abandoned Mbeya and relocated to Rukwa.

And this behaviour cannot stop there, soccer fanatics ought to expect more changes as the days go by.

I have tried to reflect on the team's particular reasons for either leaving their bases or opting to hold some of their fixtures elsewhere, ignoring fans who had for years sought to root for the sides' progress.

The home stadium is one of the most important things for a club in building and strengthening its culture.

The venue shapes the club's brand and makes the outfit stand out from the crowd, attracts more supporters and members, and even attracts companies to invest in the side.

Coastal Union's culture is different from African Sports, and that difference is what creates the rivalry between the two Tanga teams.

It is like forcing a Coastal Union fan to support African Sports, such a fanatic cannot conform to the culture of the rival club.

And one cannot build a fan base for a team that does not have its historic home stadium.

As Ruvu Shooting seeks to play one of its home matches outside the Coast Region, it will not be able to build a wide fan base no matter how impressive it will be in the top flight.

Football fans will not see anything in Ruvu Shooting that they should be proud of other than waiting for the results of the club's matches.

Yes, Mwanza football fans will turn up at the venue on the day Ruvu Shooting faces either Yanga or Simba, but the majority will be doing so to watch the visiting outfits.

The next match, in which the club perhaps takes on Mtibwa Sugar, will witness very few fanatics turn up at the stadium.

A club needs to realize that the place where it was established is important in its history and culture.

Leaving the area for any reason amounts to cutting off the historical part of the club's culture and establishing a new one that is hard to keep in people's minds.

In addition, the team has to spend a lot of money to play at home.

Club officials have to think carefully before deciding to hold one of their respective outfits' home matches in other regions' venues.

It is very important for a team to respect its fans, even if they are few because doing so will build respect and attract other football fans.