Premiership title race, it’s all to play for

20Apr 2016
Michael Mwebe
The Guardian
Premiership title race, it’s all to play for

MAINLAND premier soccer league title it’s all to play for and more upsets are likely to unfold.

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Though holders Yanga are seemingly on their way to snatch the title but have daunting task to play against teams that have nothing to lose and those fighting for the premiership survival

Just four points separate the top three with less than six games to go in the Mainland premier soccer league. After a surprising and demoralising home defeat home defeat against Toto Africans, some have dared call it’s over for Simba.

The defeat against lowly but stubborn Toto African might have dealt Simba a big blow but it is too early to count them out of the title track.

Looking at the table standings, the title could go either way especially if one scrutinizes the remaining fixtures of each the three giants.

At a glance, one would think by having three home games out of their five remaining fixtures Simba hold a crucial advantage over their title rivals. However, two of the three fixtures are against the strong sides, Azam and Mwadui while the third is against relegation-threatened JKT Ruvu.

Simba also face a daunting task away against Mtibwa Sugar in Morogoro. Mtibwa Sugar have often proved a hard nut to crack for Simba especially at the bumpy Jamhuri stadium.

Last season Simba could only manage a draw which is a reminiscent situation they are right now is as good as a loss. The only consolation for Simba is that they are already out of the Federation Cup and have no continental commitments.

The problem for Yanga could be the fixture list, with five away games against Toto African, Stand United, Mbeya City and Majimaji still to come, plus continental duties and Federation Cup distractions.

In that run, Stand United and Mbeya City feel they have something to settle even if they won’t be fighting for any prize. In both games that were played at the National Stadium, the two sides voiced their grievances claiming controversial decision went against them.

Third-placed Azam were somehow written off after they squandered four points when they conceded equalisers against Toto Africans and Ndanda to fall four points off top spot, but it would be a brave man to bet against them in the title race given their squad depth.

In comparison to Yanga and Simba, Azam have a fair run in with as many number of home games as away ones.
Their toughest test would be against Simba. The rest are games that Azam are expected to grind out results.

By the time they play against African Sports, the Tanga based side might have already confirmed their relegation.

Their last game is against another relegation-threatened team, Mgambo JKT. Thus if the league goes down to the wire one would say Azam have an advantage playing at home against a seemingly weak side.

Judging by the sheer level of competition, then this has to be the most intriguing and compelling premier league season yet and twists and turns in the last two rounds should not be ruled out.

There are many factors at play which is why the fight to be crowned champions will be so absorbing over the remaining rounds. The least we should expect is that everyone is going to drop points.

The key games are likely going to be against relegation-haunted candidates and the Azam versus Simba tie. Yanga will be hoping Simba and Azam settle for a stalemate.

At the same time, Simba and Azam will be hoping Yanga struggle on the away trips where they have only won twice this season.