TABLE-topping Young Africans will be hot favourites for today's Premier League clash with Kagera Sugar at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, as they look to go six points clear at the summit.
Coach Ernest Brandts would cherish the opportunity to capitalize on their game in hand and create a good buffer zone with their closest title challengers Azam, with eight games remaining.
As it stands, Yanga command the table on 39 points from 17 games, Azam are second with 36 points after 18 outings and defending champions Simba occupy third place. Yanga could also open a 12-point gap with archrivals and defending champions Simba, thus, undermining the holders' slim title hopes.
Yanga would certainly love to avenge for the 1-0 defeat they suffered to Mrage Kabange's boys during their first round encounter played at the Kaitaba Stadium in Bukoba. The league leaders go into the match in fine form but they will also know they have to perform to overcome the fifthplaced Sugar, which has often proved a hard nut to crack.
Kagera Sugar may have edged out Yanga when the two faced off in their previous meeting, but will be fully aware of the task they face in an attempt to close the gap with the top four sides. The Jangwani Street outfit reopened a three point lead at the top of the table with a narrow 1-0 victory over Azam last Saturday.
Rwandan midfielder Haruna Niyonzima scored the lone goal of the match with a sumptuous finish from the edge of the box on 32 minutes after being set up by Jerryson Tegete. Niyonzima believes Yanga is well prepared to avenge their first round loss to Kagera Sugar, adding that they are determined to win all remaining games to set up a good record.
But the former APR playmaker, warned his teammates not to underestimate their opponents as they can cause an upset. "There is no easy game at this stage of the league, we know that and we expect Kagera to be tough opponents, but hopeful we're going to win," he said.
The entrance fees for the game are 20,000/- for each of the VIP A seats, 15,000/- for the VIP B and C, 8,000 for Orange seats while fans at the rest of the stadium will have to pay 5,000/- each.
Elsewhere, Coastal Union will be looking to leapfrog Simba into third place when they play host to Ruvu Shooting at the Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga. Also today, JKT Ruvu entertain Toto Africans at Azam Complex in Dar es Salaam, in what is a crucial game at the bottom of the table.
Neither side are safe from relegation, with Toto third from bottom on 14 points and JKT Ruvu one placed above with 16 points. Meanwhile, bottom side Polisi Morogoro face Mgambo Shooting at Jamhuri Stadium in Morogoro, with Mtibwa Sugar, who beat Simba 1-0 on Sunday, taking on Prisons at Manungu ground.