YOUNG Africans' bid to bridge gap with top riders Simba and Azam didn't pay dividends after they were held to a barren draw by classy Mwadui at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam, yesterday.
Following the draw, the defending champions managed to scarp only one point, a situation that threatens their whole campaign to grab the league title for the fourth year. They have clung to the 5th place, the position they held prior to their yesterday game.
Yanga who looked determined to grab three points from Mwadui begun the first half strongly making carefully planned attacks, but in most of the occasions relaxed Mwadui defenders stood firm and didn't give Yanga chances to score.
Barley 4 minutes from the start Mwadui won a free kick, but Seseme's shot was too feeble to turn into a goal. Mwadui's Awadh Juma was a big hurdle to Yanga strikers as most often he disrupted moves that could help Yanga earn a goal.
In the 23rd minute Tambwe squandered a golden chance after failing to tap in the ball. They closely watched Hamis Tambwe, Ibrrahim Ajib and Pius Buswita to ensure they don't perform to their levels. Shortly before the breather, Paul Nonga rounded Andrew Vincent, but his shot went a few inches off target.
The best attack for Yanga was in the 37th minute when Ajibu fired a powerful shot that hit the cross bar and was saved. In the 62nd minute Jimmy Luhende used extra skills to stop Juma Mahadhi's ball that was heading to well-placed Buswita.
Mwadui held on till the end of the game to deny Yanga a much needed home win. It is obvious that Yanga's wish now is to see their rivals Simba and Azam also stumble in their today's matches against Singida United and Majimaji respectively.
Simba, who are finalising process to recruit the former Frenchman, Hubert Velud as the Head Coach after the exit of Cameroonian Joseph Omog, will be seeking to extend their lead, though it is likely to be a tough mission. Coach Velud who was in the country to complete the contract, previously coached Congo DRC giants. TP Mazembe and Etoile du Sahel of Tunisia.
The Frenchman (58) who also coached Togo and he was shot on the hand when the bus which was transporting Togolese players to the 2010 AFCON was attacked in Angola. In 2013,Velud won Algeria's Ligue 1 championship with ES Setif plus Algeria's Super Cup in the same year and in 2014, he won Super Cup while coaching USM Alger of Algeria.
The win for Simba will be a big boost to the new coach who seems to be the right candidate to succeed Cameroonian tactician. Elsewhere, Mapinduzi Cup Heroes, Azam FC will be playing against hosts Majimaji in their first match of their Southern Highlands tour at Majimaji Stadium in Songea.
Azam who have tied with Simba on the point gain, will be also gunning for the win so as to maintain the lead. Azam will play their second match in the Southern Highlands on January 22 against Tanzania Prisons.
Sokoine Stadium in Mbeya is the venue of the match, according to the league fixture. Azam will still miss their hit-man Mbaraka Yusuph who is still recovering from injury.
Simba are enjoying the pilot seat with 26 points closely followed with the Ice-cream makers who are second on the log table with 26 points like Simba, but the superior goal average put Msimbazi Street Boys above Azam.
With Simba hosting Singida United at Uhuru Stadium today, there are all signs of a fierce battle for the win today.
Singida United who presently occupy the fourth slot on the log and are three points up over defending champions Young Africans with 23 points, meaning that if they will manage to upset Simba and grab maximum points, they will be equal on points with the Msimbazi based outf