A HUGE crowd in local soccer matches is unquestionably a familiar sight in the country. Soccer, dubbed the beautiful game, has understandably been commanding huge following in the country for years as it is the case in the rest of the world.
Local soccer fans have never ceased to strongly support their local sides although the country is still struggling to establish itself as a serious competitor at the international level.
The increasing love of the English premier league has never forced local soccer fans to turn their back on the local game either.
The so-called avid fans of such top English premier league sides like Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool,
Manchester United and, most recently, Manchester City are as well strong supporters of the national
soccer team, Taifa Stars, and local top flight sides namely Simba and Young Africans, among others.
Taifa Stars failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup/African Nations Cup finals but local fans are as loyal as ever to their team which is still in contention for the finals of the second edition of the African Nations Championship in Sudan next year.
Local soccer fans are increasingly learning to support their team through thick and thin -- a crucial quality found in any true soccer fan.
A visit at district soccer league matches revealed the league's matches do pull huge crowds as well despite taking place at poor playing grounds.
The same fans of the English Premier League and the local Vodacom Premier League do have a penchant for backing their street teams that compete in the district soccer leagues, hoping to qualify for the regional tournament and battle for a place in the national first division league.
With relatively low entrance fee set by district soccer governing bodies in the national league, local soccer fans see no reason in shunning the league's games especially when its fixture does not collide with the English premier league's.
One can hardly differentiate the level of fanaticism seen in the Vodacom premier league from the one found in the national soccer league.
Fans literally go wild whenever their teams perform well and are extremely sad when the same sides perform dismally and lose games.
They have always been known to be a valuable inspiration behind their teams' success and their contribution on the matter has been quite immense.
Fans of one of the clubs who competed in last year’s national league in Kinondoni district division, for one, were a joy to behold.
The team's group of wildly cheering fans could be likened to the ones supporting local soccer giants Simba and Yanga -- who cheer at their teams with music instruments including drums and trumpets.
Their non-stop chanting of encouraging words to their players eventually inspired the team to a comfortable 3-1 win over their opponents.
There is, however, a huge difference between the level of discipline that the fans do have when they attend matches in the national soccer league and the one they show when they attend Vodacom premier league matches.
Fans, on the one hand, are more than willing to utter offensive words to either match officials or players of the opposing sides whenever they are not satisfied with the treatment their team's players get in national league games.
And, with lack of security in the national league matches, a sight of fans either exchanging blows or
engaging in scuffles is no longer peculiar in games although such events do not happen as often as it was the case in the past.
Tight security in Vodacom premier league, on the other hand, has been the key to restricting fans to
supporting their teams from the stands, a move that has somewhat restored discipline in the league's
A look at the national soccer league has also revealed fans could hardly be in friendly terms with match
officials during games with fans of either teams criticizing the officials for allegedly entertaining biasness.
The fans have time and again been violating the league regulations by openly arguing with fourth officials when games are in progress.
Fourth officials, in this case, have ceaselessly been warning fans out of approaching the officials' bench but in vain.
The most notable positive aspect seen among the league's fans is that they are increasingly less inclined to hold grudges against match officials even when the officials have allegedly acted in favour of opposing teams.
"You have to do away with biasness in this league, otherwise you will never be promoted to the top flight league," a fan said at the end of one of the matches.
National soccer league's fans have also been doing a more noble task of offering simple first aid service to injured players during games. District football associations' failure to offer first aid service during matches because of lack of sponsorship forces most of the teams to rely on their fans for the task.