Tanzania: Azam Keep Simba, Yanga At Bay

AYOUB Lyanga and Idd Selemani netted a goal apiece, as the runaway Mainland Premier League leaders, Azam FC on Tuesday beat Ihefu 2-0 to open an-eight point gap clear with Simba and Young Africa.

New boy on the block, Zimbabwean Price Dube set up both goals as the 'ice cream makers' maintained their grip of the summit on maximum 21 points from seven matches.

It represents 100 per cent record for Aristica Cioba's lads since the beginning of the 2020/2021 season.

The Mainland league rivalry flares up again tomorrow when giants clubs, Young Africans and Simba SC get back into action at different venues.

The rival sides share the spoil with 13 points from five matches they have played each so far despite Yanga being in the third position, in front of Simba and league leaders, Azam FC with 18 points.

The two and other teams were in a break of action for about two weeks to pave ways for recently ended Taifa Stars' Fifa date friendly match against the 'Swallows' of Burundi held at Mkapa Stadium with visitors winning 1-0.

As the league resumes, the two old clubs are back to spice up their fight for the league leadership against other well drilled side including Azam FC.

Burundian Cedric Kaze will be in-charge of his maiden assignment as Yanga coach when he takes new responsibilities against Polisi Tanzania at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam.

Already the former champions have bragged of winning the match, calling up their fans to show up in a big number and cheer for the victory despite missing two of their key players for various reasons.

Ally Makame, according to the club manager, Hafidh Saleh is suffering from Malaria while Mapinduzi Balama is nursing injuries.

However, he was confident to win the match "We are set to secure three crucial points against our opponents," said Saleh Kaze, has already put his 'priorities' to turn the former Mainland champions into a 'winning' outfit and urged the players to play intensively to secure important victories in their league assignments.

On the other hand, Simba, who beat Mlandege 2-0 in their warm up match held at Chamazi Stadium, are in Mbeya before moving to Rukwa to face Tanzania Prisons at Nelson Mandela Stadium in Sumbawanga in a match that may, however, not be an easy task for the reigning champions considering to the fact their opponents will be playing before their home supporters.

Their away opponents have already started firing warning shots to defending champions Simba, saying that despite being marshaled by lethal strikers who can any time change results, the winning situation is for both side.

The club's head coach, Sven Vandebrook said that they landed in Mbeya for their twoday fitness with a squad of 22 players with a mission of winning the match.

"We are familiar with the ground that we are going to play our opponents and we are ready to spoil up their day."

"Though they have a home ground advantage, we will make sure we secure three crucial points to screw up our motive of defending the league title," he was quoted as saying.

Simba have strengthened their squad, marshaling their defence and striking force by bringing in new international players, among others, Benard Morrison from their rivals, Yanga and Kenyan defender Joash Onyango.

However, sources say that Simba may also miss the services of it's roving striker, Meddie Kagere who recently picked up injuries.

They will also miss the services of John Bocco, who was also 'sidelined' out when Taifa Stars lost 1-0 to Burundi because of injuries.

From five games, Simba have scored more goals (12) than any other team on the log while leaders Azam FC sit second on the list of goals netted with 10 goals but they are currently five points clear at the top of the table.

The Tanzania Prisons have temporarily moved to Sumbawanga for their home matches as their native Mbeya ground is undergoing renovation.

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