Young Africans title retention bid came to a shuddering halt yesterday as the team has been striped of three points and as many goals following a technical blunder of fielding suspended defender Nadir Haroub on their return leg match against Coastal Union played at the Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga last Saturday.
The Mainland premiership league committee that had its session on Monday evening came into the decision after working on an appeal lodged by Coastal Union.
Coastal Union lost the match played at their home base by a lone goal but played under protest against fielding of the player.
Haroub was slapped a straight red card during a pitch violence in Yanga’s match against Azam FC played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on March 10.
During the match, Yanga players conceded more than five cards to lead the club into one million shillings fine.
Coastal Union officials had queried the inclusion of the Yanga lynchpin defender right from the line up presented by the title holders during the pre-match meeting.
However, Yanga officials and their coach were adamant on holding Haroub and the player was in the starting line-up.
The three points’ loss has given Yanga a heavy blow to retain the Mainland title with five matches in hand.
Yanga are now seven points adrift of pace makers Simba and four below second placed Azam FC.
Yanga officials fielded Haroub with a confidence from the chairman of the Appeals and Reconciliation Committee, Alfred Tibaigana, who played a big role to lift Yanga players’ suspension resulting from the pitch violence during the Match 10 encounter against Azam.
This is the first case for a reputable team like Yanga to be stripped of points resulting from technical blunders related to poor statistics of cards slapped to their players.
Simba had suffered such a blow during a league game in the 80s when they fielded controversial player Francis Mwikalo against Coastal Union.
Mwikalo’s transfer was incomplete but adamant Simba officials by then under secretary general Jimmy Ngonya played down the complaints that proved costly thereafter.
Following the decision to strip off Yanga the precious points, title chase has now been tight between Simba and Azam.