27 December 2012

Tanzania/Kenya: Tusker Down Yanga in Dar

MAINLAND Premier League giants Young Africans suffered a 1-0 defeat against Kenyan soccer champions Tusker FC in an international friendly at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Ismail Dunga scored the only goal of the match from the spot kick in the stroke of half time to give the Kenyan Premier League side a deserved win.

Referee Oden awarded the penalty to the visiting side after Yanga player Nurdin Bakari had brought down Khalid Aucho inside the box.

Yanga used the Boxing Day fixture to parade their newly signed players, notably Congolese-born Rwandan midfielder Kabange Twite, who joined the club during the mini-transfer window from APR of Rwanda.

Kabange was joined in the starting line-up by two youngsters George Banda and Lehani Kibingwa, who have been promoted from the junior squad. Nadir Haroub 'Canavaro' partnered with Ladislaus Mbogo in the heart of Yanga defence, with outcast striker Said Bahanunzi given a rare start upfront.

Chances of real note were few and far between the two sides in opening half. Yanga head coach Ernest Brandts made a flurry of changes on resumption, retiring Oscar Joshua, Banda and Kibingwa, in favour of Omega Seme, Simon Msuva, Stephano Mwasika, Hamis Kiiza.

But the changes hardly helped rejuvenate his team. It was Tusker who threatened again few moments after the restart and Ali Mustafa made a fine save in the 54th minute to help keep Yanga into the game. Yanga made several attempts on Tusker's goal but the latter's defence well marshaled by Joseph Shikokoti, formerly with Yanga, stood firm and cleared all the dangers.

Andrew Tololusa went close to doubling Tusker's advantage but saw his stunning shot ricochet off the post, with Mustafa beaten. Yanga are fine-tuning for the second round of the Mainland Premier League scheduled to kick off later next month.

They are also lined up for the Mapinduzi Cup tournament due to kick-off next Tuesday in Zanzibar, and the match against Tusker was a good litmus test for Ernest Brandts side ahead of the Isles event. Tusker arrived in Dar es Salaam earlier this week from Nairobi and they have been scheduled to play a couple of friendly matches on their way to Zanzibar for the annual one week Zanzibar Mapinduzi soccer tournament.

They will also encounter Premier League champions, Simba on Saturday. Tusker are using the friendly matches and the forthcoming Mapinduzi Cup to shape up ahead of the new season with their eyes on defending the domestic cup title for the third year in a row and performing better in the CAF Champions League where they have been drawn against St Michel from Seychelles in the first round.

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