Juma Kaseja suspension and coach Marcio Maximo legacy

Talk about revenge from the grave, that one obtains justice only after being dead and buried, and perhaps after years following his or her death, that justice finally comes his way.

This seems to be the case following the move by the Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) to ban leading goalkeeper Juma Kaseja for three matches and fine him Sh500,000, which has brought Simba SC chairman Ismail Aden Rage – now also honourable MP– to his feet.

There must have been a mistake, according to him, as TFF moved to inflict punishment without ‘thoroughly and deeply’ examining the matter, as it should be.

It is as if the ghost of Marcio Maximo, ‘immediate former’ coach of Taifa Stars, was there to seek some retribution from the persecution the fans conducted in his direction concerning that same player, whom he banned or exiled from the national team so long as he was coach for the side.

It means he noticed something totally unacceptable in the player’s tendencies, even if not in a major foul or mistake with regard to other players, and considered that the player’s attitude was not the right one. It was clear that many fans did not take kindly to his position on Kaseja, as well as quite a few among his peers, or TFF.

In a way it is a measure of kindness on their part, to recognise the efforts that Maximo put into shaping discipline in Taifa Stars, to have also acted in that direction – following his example even if they did not say so – and admit that Kaseja, when he lets himself act freely, is worth banning, if for only three matches.

As the banning refers to club soccer it is still quite significant, as it needs all the points it can gather, and when they miss their star goalie, anything can happen between the goalposts. It would even become the reason Simba SC could fail to clinch the cup this year – if it lost a match carelessly, or two!

To quite a number of fans of Taifa Stars, the departure of Maximo was all the more awaited as it would open the route for Kaseja to come back to Taifa Stars, which obviously he was entitled to, as no jury had determined that whatever mistake he did was worth a life ban from the side.

Those close to the former national team coach could have maintained as much, that his action was unacceptable – depending on how it is reported, and which action it was, a sphere one may not need to indulge into at the moment. Maximo did not meet with comprehension over the issue; he was tolerated for a while, then hounded.

That is why the decision about Kaseja comes as sour grapes for this fraternity of fans, and in retrospect it is not surprising, as the old adage goes, ‘spare the rod, spoil the child’ that if a player feels that he is too important for a club or the national team to be punished, he will do as he pleases.

That is definitely not how soccer is organized and Maximo sort of knew it instinctively. He risked the chances of his team, Taifa Stars reaching higher levels with Kaseja in goal in order to stand by a semblance of principle.

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