Tanzania: Simba Ascend, Yanga Stumble

Simba made significant stride tow ards defending the Mainland Premier League title with a 2-1 w in over Coastal Union, while Young Africans dropped crucial points after a 1-0 loss to Mtibwa Sugar.

At the Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga, Simba had to toil to sneak out with a victory that saw them post 60 points; just six behind second placed Azam and 14 behind leaders, Yanga but the Msimbazi Reds have nine matches in hand compared to Yanga.

Simba have played 23 matches, while Yanga, who still sit top of the table are on 74 points from 32 matches, while Azam are second on 66 points from 31 matches, meaning if Simba manages to win all their matches in hand, they will go top of the pile.

Meddie Kagere was the hero for Simba after scoring second half goals after, youthful Raizin Hafidh had given Coastal Union a surprise lead seconds from the kickoff.

Both Simba versus Coastal Union and Yanga against Mtibwa matches kicked off at lunch time to provide opportunity to football supporters especially those in Dar es Salaam to go and witness the ongoing Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) U-17 finals, which are staged at the National Stadium and Azam Complex in the city.

Simba returned to the league action today after being eliminated from CAF Champions League quarterfinal stage by Congolese giants, TP Mazembe on 4-1 aggregate.

It took just 20 seconds for Coastal Union to net the opener through Hafidh, who capitalised on mistakes by defender Erasto Nyoni and his goalkeeper, Aishi Manula, only allowing the scorer to steal the ball and easily power home.

After conceding, Simba struggled to keep their calm and the poor state of pitch seemed to give them hard time.

In the 16th minute, Hassan Dilunga shot deflected a defender and a minute later, Emmanuel Okwi shot was parried off by keeper to an abortive corner kick.

After the break, Simba brought in Clatous Chama for Muzamir Yassin and the changes benefited the Patrick Aussems charges as they took off forcefully.

No wonder Kagere netted the equliser through a spot kick in the 47th minute, sending keeper, Soud Abdallah a wrong way.

The spot kick was awarded to Simba by referee after keeper bundled down Okwi in the box.

Substitute Chama cleverly set up Okwi, who charged in the box before being clipped by the keeper.

From then, Simba upped the tempo and were 2-1 up in the 68th minute, when Kagere netted his second of the day and second for Simba.

He raced clear to a Chama's pass to blast past keeper for his 16th goal of the campaign and he is now tying top with Mwadui FC's Salim Aiyee.

Simba almost netted the third in the 77th minute, when Okwi turned up swiftly but his shot took a flight and a minute later, Kagere fluffed with a chance inside the box.

With seven minutes to go, striker, Adam Salamba replaced Okwi. At the Jamhuri Stadium in Morogoro, Yanga surrendered maximum points, as Riffat Khamis netted a solitary goal for Mtibwa Sugar in the 52nd minute, after having the better of Andrew Vincent.

Yanga dominated the first half but failed to make the most from chances they created. Mtibwa Sugar came strongly in the second half to score the winner, which saw them move above Lipuli FC to fourth place on 48 points from 32 matches.

Yanga introduced skipper, Ibrahim Ajib and Amissi Tambwe in the second half for Raphael Daud and Erick Msagati but they failed to light up the team.

Tambwe thought he had scored the equliser with five minutes to go, but referee ruled it out for an offside.

The league continues today with Azam FC taking on hosts Ndanda FC at the Nangwanda Sijaona Stadium in Mtwara.

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