What has gone wrong with Namungo FC?  

21Nov 2020
Michael Mwebe
Dar es Salaam
The Guardian
What has gone wrong with Namungo FC?  

​​​​​​​WHEN Namungo FC hit the headlines with back-to-back promotions in Tanzania’s soccer leagues, construction of own stadium, the club's bus and attracting several sponsors, there was hope for good things to come from the Lindi-based club.

Yet after only one complete top flight season, Namungo FC has been turned into an average team, competing for nothing.

What Namungo FC is going through is a true reflection of the state of most local clubs.

At the start of the season, Namungo FC head coach Thierry Hitimana insinuated some people within the club were interfering with his job and this seems not to have gone down well with the club. He was favourite for the axe right from the start.

The Burundian coach successfully secured top flight promotion and guided them to a fourth-place finish on the Vodacom Premier League (VPL).

He also helped them make it to the previous season’s Azam Sports Federation Cup final where they lost to Simba SC but clinched the CAF Confederation Cup ticket.

It is important that Namungo FC hires club administrators who have the necessary skills and knowledge.

If this does not change then it will not be a surprise to see the club fight to escape relegation in the near future.

It is hard to find some semblance in the current outfit with the squad that finished impressively in their debut top flight campaign.

Perhaps the fourth-place finish of last season might have also got into the administrators’ heads and they thought it would be easy.

There was an air of arrogance in their statement when they let go of top scorer, Reliants Lusajo, who signed for Dar es Salaam Kinondoni Municipal Council (KMC) FC before the 2020/21 VPL’s kick off.

Namungo FC administrators decided to recruit and offload several players without consulting the coach.

When the management of the club just does things without hearing from the technical team, trouble lies ahead.

Hitimana was not told that there are players leaving, he was never consulted in the signing of some big names in the squad. This was a recipe for disaster.

Little did the cocky Namungo FC management know most success stories are so hard to replicate especially in the competitive football landscape.

They are learning the hard way, that is only if they are actually taking lessons on what is going on.

Getting to the top is one thing, staying there is a completely different ball game.

Leicester City FC, which won the 2015/16 English Premier League, barely managed to stay afloat in the subsequent season.

One has to work harder to stay at the top. Working hard is a humbling experience. In contrast, Namungo were arrogant and thought they could easily replace certain individuals without paying a heavy price.

Decisions seem to have been taken haphazardly, without direction and often with the financial merits in mind.

One should take a look at the club’s goalkeeping situation, in which they find themselves with two foreigners competing for the number one spot.

While competition and squad depth are good, Burkina Faso's Nourdine Balora and Burundi’s Jonathan Nahimana competing for the goalkeeping role does not make financial sense in the current climate where the club is reportedly struggling with payment issues.

And as evident from the current position on the VPL log, Namungo, placed ninth, are struggling in this campaign after garnering a paltry 14 points from 10 matches.

Hitimana is gone but it would be foolish to assume he was the chief cause of Namungo FC’s problems.

Whoever dreamed that it would be just to fire Hitimana for Namungo FC’s problems to be solved, will quickly realize that he is wrong.

What is true is that the squad, despite having strong names like Shiza Kichuya and Adam Salamba, does not offer depth.

This continues to affect the club and, consequently, the work of any coach who will lead the team, as is the case with the sacked Hitimana.