Kagera Sugar now reliant on Yusuph Mhilu     

17Oct 2020
Michael Mwebe
The Guardian
Kagera Sugar now reliant on Yusuph Mhilu     

​​​​​​​ON September 25 this year, Kagera Sugar registered their first win of the Vodacom Premier League (VPL) season with a 1–0 victory over visiting Kinondoni Municipal Council (KMC) FC at Kaitaba Stadium in Kagera.

Kagera Sugar striker Yusuph Mhilu.

Striker Yusuph Mhilu who was playing his first match of the season scored the all important goal for the hosts.

On October 4, Kagera Sugar lost 4–2 to Azam FC in a thrilling away encounter at Azam Complex in Dar es Salaam.

Mhilu was once again on the score sheet for Kagera Sugar.

On Wednesday, Kagera Sugar lost 2–1 to Namungo FC to drop to the relegation zone.

It was Kagera Sugar's fourth defeat in six matches in the 2020/21 VPL campaign. Mhilu grabbed Kagera Sugar’s consolation goal in the clash.

Mhilu has now scored three league goals in three league appearances, meaning he has been responsible for 75% of all Kagera Sugar’s four goals thus far.

Suffice it to say Kagera Sugar’s overdependence on their striker has continued this season.

Last season, Mhilu scored 13 of all Kagera Sugar’s 44 league goals (30%) as they finished eighth behind JKT Tanzania and sixth-placed Coastal Union.

In the three league games he missed due to injury this season, Kagera Sugar not only failed to win any match but also could not find the opponents' back of the net.

His header against KMC FC was the first goal scored by head coach Mecky Mexime’s men this season.

It should not be forgotten Kagera Sugar started off promisingly last season, winning their first three matches, all of them on the road.

However, their good run crumbled due to a lack of strength in depth as the season progressed.

Mexime deemed it necessary to bring in a backup and quality cover for his attacking department during the previous transfer window, and that was the right thing to do.

Vitalis Mayanga, Mbaraka Yusuph and Sadat Mohamed were brought in to provide more attacking options.

Of the three forwards, Mayanga was seen as a major coup for Kagera Sugar.

However, he has yet to score a league goal despite having almost 500 minutes of league action under his belt since arriving.

Mayanga has so far struggled to replicate the form that saw him bag over 17 goals for Ndanda FC.

With nine league goals in his top flight debut last season at Ruvu Shooting, Mohamed was seen as a smart pick up.

He is yet to start any game under head coach Mecky Mexime despite Mhilu being sidelined in the early matches.

That might be interpreted as either a lack of faith in his ability or maybe he is not ready.

Kagera Sugar know Yusuph, he knows them. The striker previously had a successful two-year spell with the club between 2015 and 2017 before making a big move to Azam FC.

He played his best football at Kagera Sugar. Having not really set the world alight during his time at Azam FC, based at Chamazi in Dar es Salaam, he was quickly forgotten.

It has been a disappointing signing so far, especially when fans take into consideration that Kagera Sugar really needed a striker to help them when Mhilu was unavailable.

Yusuph is still a shadow of the striker domestic soccer followers saw in his first spell with Kagera Sugar.

Without Mhilu, Kagera Sugar have proved to be toothless in the final third, lacking the killer instinct the former Yanga and Ndanda FC striker brings to the table.

It might be too early but when Kagera Sugar's three striking additions, Mayanga, Mohamed and Yusuph have contributed zero goals in six matches so far, it becomes a matter of concern for the technical bench.

As evident in the past two seasons, Mhilu alone is not able to lead the team to either unprecedented success or reclaim their top four status.

If the Misenyi-based side are to make it into the top four in this competitive campaign, the overreliance on Mhilu must stop.

Coach Mexime’s side has become too reliant on the speedy forward and it is no surprise they are flirting with the bottom place in the top flight.

They are likely to avoid relegation worries, but it will not be a successful season either unless other strikers come into the party to share the goal scoring burden with Mhilu

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