VPL 2020/21 was a season of its kind 

30Jul 2021
Nassir Nchimbi
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
VPL 2020/21 was a season of its kind 

​​​​​​​THE 2020/21 Mainland Tanzania Premier League season ended on July 18 after all of the top flight's 18 teams completed 34 league matches in the home and away form.

Ruvu Shooting Football Club's attacker, Fulgence Maganga (2nd R), goes for a header, with Prisons' shot-stopper, Jeremiah Kisubi, seeking to keep the former in check when the squads faced off in one of 2020/21 Vodacom Premier League games in Coast Region in April. PHOTO: COURTESY OF RUVU SHOOTING FC

The Premier League witnessed four teams face relegation automatically, with Simba SC emerging champions for the fourth time in a row.

A total of 306 matches were played this season, with 217 matches ending in wins while 89 matches ended in a draw.

A total of 610 goals were scored and a combined total of 740 points were notched by all teams.

It turned out to be a very competitive league, considering each team struggled to notch positive results.

The competent squads, in the end, worked hard and had the last laugh.

Mwadui FC, Ihefu SC, Gwambina FC, and JKT Tanzania have faced relegation to next season's First Division League after finishing in the last four places in this season's top flight.

Coastal Union beat Mwanza's Pamba FC and Mtibwa Sugar showcased their experience against Transit Camp FC in Premier League's relegation/ promotion playoffs and remained in the Premier League.

Players

This past season was excellent and attractive due to the ability and quality of the participating players in the league.

Each team had the opportunity to register 10 foreign players, with some teams using at least half of those positions.

Most of the foreign players brought in competition, alongside locals who were in good form during the season.

Many players were below par this season due to various reasons including injuries and lack of playing time and such players may next season solve those challenges.

Coaches/ Technical bench

This is one of the seasons that soccer fans witnessed many coaches parting ways with clubs within a single season.

More than 25 head coaches have coached in the Premier League this season whereby some have been sacked or left the team and others have remained in their squads.

The abundance of coaches has provided entertainment for fans and football stakeholders, as they have witnessed different techniques and playing styles that each coach used.

Some of the top-flight players benefited from the techniques and others found themselves victims of the formations.

Referees

Before blaming the referees, who oversaw this season's Premier League matches, a person should first congratulate them for the hard work they have done.

The match officials had officiated the league's games and saw to it the showpiece comes to an end with neither boycott nor premature end of any game because of the referees' decisions.

Along with those compliments, this season should be a lesson to them, there have been many mistakes made by the referees.

Some of the mistakes were quite glaring and there are other mistakes seen through different technologies and rules of football, which means referees need to work hard to avoid repeating such mistakes in the future.

Fand and Stakeholders

This season was further made exciting by fans of each team as well as other football stakeholders who came out to support or celebrate their teams in a different way.

Controversy, jokes, arrogance, ridicule, and praises are done by fans to improve excitement and motivate sides.

Each team needed to do well to impress their fans and make them proud and brag about the sides' achievements.

At the beginning of the season, when sports journalists had to raise their voices to denounce rowdy actions by a section of the fans that beat opposing sides' fans, the cries were heard and those actions disappeared completely.

Authority

The football authorities, namely Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) and the Premier League Board (TPLB), also fulfiled their duties well.

The two authorities saw to it the Premier League was played and ended peacefully.

Various things were not correct, for example, some of the schedules were set without considering the rules.

There were moreover other mistakes that did not please the stakeholders and football fans in the country so such mistakes should be dealt with.

Leaders

Apart from Simba SC, Yanga, Azam FC that are sponsored by companies and prominent businessmen, there were several other financially stable clubs, which comfortably took care of their day-to-day operations and met their expenses.

The clubs' leaders, who did all they could to ensure such outfits smoothly participate in the Premier League, deserve praise.

This season cannot be compared to the previous ones, given it was not economically viable for some teams, in terms of transport, accommodation, equipment, and players' registration.

The leaders' wisdom and fighting spirit, nevertheless, made the league entertaining, despite that difficulty.

Lastly, Simba SC, Yanga, Azam FC, and Biashara United deserve kudos for finishing in the top four in the top flight and securing an opportunity to represent the country in continental club tournaments.

The sides will have a chance to showcase the Mainland Premier League's quality internationally in the CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup.

Other sincere congratulations should go to Kinondoni Municipal Council FC, Polisi Tanzania, Tanzania Prisons, Dodoma Jiji FC, Namungo FC, Mbeya City FC, Ruvu Shooting, and Kagera Sugar for clinging on to the top flight.

Sincere congratulations should go to the teams that have won promotion to the Mainland Premier League next season.

They are Geita Gold FC and Mbeya Kwanza. The sides successfully secured top-tier football next season after putting a good performance in this season's First Division League.

Football stakeholders and fans are looking forward to an exciting battle for the top honour, to be showcased by the 16 teams that will be participating in the Premier League next season.

Simba SC captain John Bocco has been the top flight top scorer with 16 goals after beating Azam FC striker, Prince Dube (14 goals), Simba's Chris Mugalu (15 goals), and teammate, Meddie Kagere (13 goals).

Simba SC goalkeeper Aishi Manula was voted as the top-flight best goalkeeper for the fourth time in a row after finishing this season with 18 clean sheets.

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