IT'S this time of the Mainland Premier League season, when the table should be taking shape and as usual, Dar es Salaam teams have stood firm on three top positions.
As the Mainland Premier League expects to enter its 11th round this weekend, Simba, Azam and Young Africans are occupying first, second and third slots in that order.
The triple clubs, however, were subjected to tricky fixtures over the weekend hence they had to excel by collecting maximum three points in order to continue their supremacy of the 16-team league, which has reached at a breathtaking stage.
Simba, which tops the log with 22 points thanks to superior goal difference, were the household name at the end of the tenth round following the team's extraordinary performance in the intimidating Southern Zone, where they smartly hauled six points from two matches.
Winning by solitary goal in both encounters against Mbeya City and Tanzania Prisons has enabled the Reds to identify themselves that they are one of the major title contenders this term, especially considering the fact that Sokoine Memorial Stadium in Mbeya is one of the difficult venues to come out clean.
Highly considered to be the most expensive side in the league with quality crop of players, the Reds, somehow quenched winning desire from their supporters countrywide.
Simba spent 1.3bn/- to assemble its squad, targeting to win the topflight league silverware this season and excel in the CAF Confederation Cup. Again, Azam FC could not leave the stone unturned at new league comers Njombe Mji from where they gained crucial three points to consolidate their second place on the league table.
The Ice-cream makers are equal on points with the Msimbazi street giants only that inferior goals have dragged them on second place. Defending champions Yanga demolished Mbeya City with a 5-0 victory at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
The victory brought them closer to the top as they currently are two points behind the leader's Simba after collecting 20 points from 10 games.
The latest results, makes this weekend's games more vital for all Simba, Azam and Yanga, who are in a stiff battle for the top position, to ensure they have total control of the league before it comes to a break, to pave way for the 2017 CECAF Senior Challenge Cup, which kicks off on December 3 to 17 in Kenya.
On Saturday, Yanga will take on Tanzania Prisons at the Azam Complex and a win will see the defending champions taking the top seat may be for some hours because the following day, league leaders Simba will play host to Iringa's Lipuli FC at the same venue and victory or draw will see them back on the driver's seat.
The battle won't finish there as Azam will face a great test when they welcome Mtibwa Sugar at the Azam Complex. Mtibwa will be targeting to regain its winning formula in the battle of the top seat, while their hosts will aim nothing rather than victory to keep on pressuring the league leaders.
Apart from the battle for top seat, the weekend will also witness another great clash for the bottom placed sides, which involves Ruvu Shooting, Njombe Mji and Stand United.
Ruvu Shooting, who have been placed bottom for sometimes, slightly stepped up after securing their first league win this season, to bag eight points as Stand United with six points replaced them after being held to a barren draw by Mwadui FC. Njombe Mji, who lost 1-0 to Azam are placed in the last but one position with seven points.