Its improper for premier clubs to be obsessed with foreign players

The recent past soccer seasons have witnessed a number of foreign players being signed in various clubs in Tanzania.

Players from Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Burundi, Liberia, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo have been present in the line-ups of Mainland soccer clubs which take part in the Vodacom Premier League.

It should also be noted that the past two seasons have witnessed foreign players; Maurice Sunguti (2008) and Boniface Ambani (2009) being the best scorers in the premier league; an aspect which makes them more productive in the games as compared to the local players.

Most clubs would always go for a player who is productive in the game, maintains sports regime, affordable and easy to work with.

Local clubs are opting for foreign players because they are in most cases very dedicated to their career and are amenable to coping easily with the demands and dynamics of competitive soccer.

Their dedication to the game, commitment to excel as well as the urge to achieve higher goals has always made them stand out of the crowd.

Foreign players coming to play competitive soccer in the country are of the type which is very well informed of the value of the sports industry as opposed to most of Tanzanian players who have always regarded soccer as a pastime activity.

The more the premier league concentrates on signing in foreign players, the more the local players are left out of the sports industry’s employment.

Much as I appreciate the role played by the foreigners in the premier league, I have a feeling that if their number increases they will in a way affect the selection of the national team and its stability.

In some cases some players who are selected to join the national team,  Taifa Stars,  are those who are always on the sidelines of the club line-up which is studded by foreigners.

This kind of players lack competitive experience which is always accrued in the league because in most cases they play as substitutes.

It should be noted that the selection of the players to form the national team banks much on the local players registered in the premier league clubs.

In some cases the dependable strikers of a local club has been studded by foreigners who represent the club in most competitive matches; local and international.

This has always impaired the indigenous players from accumulating competitive experience because of playing very few matches and in most of them as mere substitutes.

Of course no serious soccer club can hire a foreign player just to come down here and warm the substitutes’ bench; so the clubs are quite right to use the registered foreign players to the fullest.

However, no matter how good foreign players are,  their upkeep has always been a burden to clubs. Clubs signing foreign players have to pay for their work permits, accommodation, transport to and from their countries of domicile and a fairly lucrative salary.

Unlike the foreigners, local players are not expensive to keep and pay because they are less demanding.

Despite the fact that the magnitude of commitment and dedication to the career among the local players is questionable, they have an advantage of being able to cope with the hardships prevailing in most of the Tanzanian soccer clubs.

Local players are more tolerant than the foreigners when it comes to the quality of residential training camps’ meals and accommodation.  If I was to give a free piece of counsel to the local club leaderships, I would have advised them to stick to local players for so many reasons.

By signing more indigenous players, the clubs will be creating more employment for Tanzanian youths and broadening the spectrum for the selection of the national team.

It should be noted that a strong national league with a majority of local players leads to a selection of a strong national team.

There are so many living examples for this. England enjoys the strongest soccer league in the world; but most of the best players in its clubs are foreigners; an aspect which weakens its national team selection.

Italy is a good example of a national league with a majority of indigenous players; an aspect which has always strengthened its national teams. I wish I was properly understood by local clubs’ leaderships; for the good of the game and for the glory of Tanzania .

Mziray is a lecturer-cum-soccer coach

SOURCE: GUARDIAN ON SUNDAY

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