Should Eliud Ambokile pursue transfer or stay put?

05Dec 2018
Michael Mwebe
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
Should Eliud Ambokile pursue transfer or stay put?

ELIUD Ambokile is a player who has got a lot of attention since last season and, as usual, Mainland Tanzania Premier League’s stars are always linked to the top three teams, Yanga SC, Azam FC and Simba SC.

Eliud Ambokile

Who is Ambokile?

For a keen Mainland Tanzania Premier League fan, this probably is not a question he or she is asking. Ambokile has been Mbeya City FC’s best player by some distance and recently became the club’s all-time top scorer. He is Mbeya City FC’s poster boy.

Even if one has not seen the well-built striker in action, the fan is probably familiar with the statistics the player has been putting up this season.

He has scored 19 league goals in his one and half season in the top flight. He is the currently the top scorer with nine strikes to his name so far, two ahead of the chasing pack of Emmanuel Okwi, Meddie Kagere, Said Dilunga and Heritier Makambo.

Ambokile’s performances have not gone unnoticed, with all the big teams in the league being touted as his next possible destination in this transfer window.

A good signing?

Financially, he is a low-risk transfer compared to buying a foreign striker. Given the rate going for local strikers, Mbeya City FC would probably accept a bid of 30m/-, which is relatively cheaper than the amount needed to buy a foreigner.

A good coach could probably work on the weaknesses Ambokile has and the latter could become a big hit, but, at the moment, he is not the guaranteed star – at least for now.

Yanga SC is a good option

The truth is, of all the clubs that are interested in Ambokile, the one that would at least suit him right now is probably Yanga SC, where he could play under head coach, Mwinyi Zahera.

With nine goals and two assists in 15 matches this season, it is clear Ambokile has a lot to offer going forward. However, the main issue regarding his possible transfer is fierce competition at his position.

He might have scored more goals than Okwi, Kagere and Bocco at Simba SC and Donald Ngoma, Aubrey Chirwa and Yahya Zayd at Azam FC but should he join either of the two clubs, he will struggle to dislodge those strikers from the first team.

Even at Yanga SC, I cannot see Ambokile immediately take the place of Heritier Makambo should the former being signed, but what a wonderful backup option he would provide.

There is no doubt he has potential, but the real question is how it would work out. He certainly has some issues, and perhaps those can be coached.

Moving to a big club could stunt Ambokile’s growth as a player. He is not going to enjoy as much playing time as he currently gets at Mbeya City FC.

Money or career growth?

Ambokile is in the right place to continue his growth as a top striker but money talks in the world of football, making it a difficult issue if the big boys come knocking down for his signature.

The future holds plenty of possibilities for the striker, but it is playing time, coupled with a level head, that will keep him on the straight and narrow in the short-term.

At Mbeya City FC, at best a mid-table club, he will naturally continue growing with more playing time but at the big boys who naturally turn to experienced foreigners he will have to get used to cameo appearances at best.

He is only 22 years old, neither too young nor too old and so there is no reason to panic and rush. His time will certainly come, for now, he needs to focus on his own development by either remaining at Mbeya City FC or move to a club that he can enjoy decent playing time.

He can look at Habib Kiyombo for inspiration. Kiyombo was coveted by the big three but chose to move to Singida United where he is banging goals and has attracted interests outside the border.

One more season at Mbeya City FC or another decent club outside the top three would do a lot of good for Ambokile. After that, it will be up to him to move anywhere depending on how well he performs.