Simba-Kagera dispute: A throwback to dark era
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THE damage is too big and far beyond repair whether Simba or Kagera Sugar win the case filed at Tanzania Football Federations (TFF) organs.

Simba, who lost 2-1 to Kagera Sugar at Kaitaba Stadium appealed to the federation’s 72 Committee demanding three points and three goals claiming their opponents had erroneously fielded Mohamed Fakhi whom they said deserved a three-card ban.

Simba won the case and their demands were granted, but, Kagera Sugar lodged an appeal later in a protest for decision, claiming the player didn’t deserve a three-card suspension. The appeal was filed to Legal and Players Status Committee, asked it to review a decision by the federation’s 72 Committee to award Simba three points.

Attention! The appeal and counter appeal syndrome won’t bring any development at the moment when the country football has begun to show signs of professionalism and its benefits. Though it is Kagera Sugar versus Simba, Fakhi case also dragged in the defending champions, Young Africans and African Lyons, as interested parts.

The decision by 72 Committee to award Simba 3 points taken from Kagera Sugar, has firmly placed the Msimbazi Street club at the helm with 62 points, hence jeopardising the title defending campaign of their traditional rivals, Yanga who are still second-placed with 56 points from 25 matches.

The situation makes Yanga automatically side with Kagera Sugar, since if they win their rivals, Simba could remain with 59 points, which mathematically is easily assailable.

Since the league is at the last stages, the ruling of the both appeals, no matter which team wins it, will bring uproar and disrupt disputes. All in all the appeal, though a right move, it is legal procedure that tarnish the whole image of Tanzanian football as the case has in process revealed several elements of inefficiency in record keeping, incompetence among the officials running the league and poor record keeping system.

A case that could be solved in just a few seconds took over 16 hours of long interviews, yet no solution came into sight till today. According to TFF Media and Communication Officer, Alfred Lucas, the Legal and Players Status Committee has the authority to meet in such a situation to interpret various laws and regulations governing football in the country.

If the decision to award Simba three points is reversed, the course for the league title is likely to change then. Simba are obliged to defend the awarded points at any cost so as to remain with 62 points, or else their league campaign will end in pipedream.

On the opposite side, Kagera Sugar who were placed third above fourth-placed Azam, dropped to the fourth place with 42 points after losing crucial 3 points. The earlier ruling by a 72-hour committee, also was a big blow to Kagera Sugar striker, Mbaraka Yusuf, who is chasing for the golden boot alongside Shiza Kichuya of Simba and Young Africans’ Simon Msuva, all with 9 goals.

Yanga, who have been eliminated from major tournaments at the continental level, will automatically pray for Kagera Sugar’s appeal to win since any act that reduces Simba’s speed will help

flourish their title defending campaign. The appeal and contra appeal drama continued on a day after the committee failed to rule on Kagera Sugar appeal. Simba held a meeting with media asking the anti-corruption to intervene claiming there was a foul play in the whole set up.

The club’s Head of Information and Communications, Haji Manara told reporters in Dar es Salaam that the club reached the move to seek the services of Prevention and Combating of Corruption Bureau (PCCB) after smelling a rat in the whole case.

Simba, as Manara claimed, sensed a possible sabotage from some officials who seem loyal to their rival club, Young Africans.

He said it was obvious there was a plot by top officials who fight tooth and nail to ensure Simba miss the championship this season. The failure of the Legal and Players Status Committee to sort out the case, according to Manara had alarmed Simba, sensing there are people behind scene seeking to sabotage the club’s race to the championship.

Simba who are the currently Mainland League leaders wanted PCCB intervention as they do not have faith with how the football governing body(TFF) handle the case. Manara even went further to claim that the country’s football under Jamal Malinzi has lost direction, adding the TFF boss has been interfering with other independent organs within the federation in forcing decisions that favour their rivals. It seems that the dark era of the poorly managed football under Football Association of Tanzania (FAT) is creeping back.

We would like to warn parties involved in Mohamed Fakhi saga to understand what they are doing will not only cost them dearly, but also the entire football fraternity as well.

They have to put into consideration that the Mainland Football League has grown up considerably in the recent years to the extent it appeals players from all over the country.

They play for the Tanzanian teams and will advocate the good things in our football and vice versa when senseless events like appeals are let to kill the country football.

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