Defending champions Young Africans (Yanga) are intensifying their preparations before their first Vodacom Premier League match against Ashanti United slated to take place this Saturday at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Yanga have won a couple of the matches in an exciting pre-season campaign including three back-to-back wins against Mtibwa Sugar, Three Pillars of Nigeria and their archrivals Azam FC in the last Saturday’s match of the Community Shield.
Speaking after a training season at the Loyola grounds on Tuesday about the opening match against Ashanti United, the defending champions’ head coach, Ernie Brandts, said they are well prepared for the new season.
“So far, our preparations are good in terms of the squad, individual players and of course the team as a whole, despite having some key players with minor injuries, such as Mbuyu Twite (groin), Kelvin Yondani (hamstring) and Mustapha Ally Barthez (shoulder),” he said.
”The expectation is so high after having the exciting pre-season campaign, winning a couple of matches and forced draw in only two games, but were intensifying our preparations because our opponents, especially Simba and Azam, have strengthen their squads with the capture of good players and they will be eyeing the title this season.”
National football team (Taifa Stars) and Yanga left-back David Luhende also insisted the need of the Jangwani side to defend the title.
He said while fans are excited about the return of the Premier League, as the players they know that they have a hard task to defend the title so there’s no time for them to relax.
Striker Hussein Javu, who crossed to the Jangwani side from Mtibwa Sugar during the transfer window ended recently, promised to have a sensational season with his new team.
He said always he has been thinking about winning games and that is the attitude he has, so he’ll work hard not only for the team but also for supporters.
Azam FC, the runners-up last season and most successful team in the country recently, had a ten-day training camp in South Africa in their pre-season campaign. The ice-makers will lock horns with Mtibwa Sugar at the Manungu Stadium in Morogoro in their opening match of the Premier League season this Saturday.
Simba, who ended the last season in the third position and therefore missing a ticket for Confederation of African Football (CAF) tournament, will seek to restore their reputation away against the new comers Rhino Rangers at the Ali Hassan Mwinyi Stadium in Tabora.
Other opening fixtures of the Premier League to be played this Saturday will involve JKT Oljoro who will host Coastal Union from Tanga at the Sheikh Amri Abeid Stadium in Arusha, Mgambo who will entertain JKT Ruvu at the Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga, new comers Mbeya City who will host Kagera Sugar at Sokoine Stadium in Mbeya and Ruvu Shooting who will face Tanzania Prison at Mabatini grounds.