FOOTBALL fans across the country are wetting their appetite for the resumption of the Mainland Premier League this weekend following a two-week break.
The league went to a recess for two weeks to pave way for FIFA week of international matches, which started last Thursday until today.
League leaders Simba SC and second placed Mtibwa Sugar clash at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Sunday will certainly herald the league resumption.
Going into the match, Simba are set to pitch the camp at the Police College in Dar es Salaam today, and Cameroonian Coach, Joseph Omog will be eager for a return to the camp of key striker, Emmanuel Okwi, who is in Uganda with the national team, The Cranes.
Simba officials were expecting the hitman, who has so far banged in six goals to jet back any time from yesterday.
It will be the battle of titanic as both the league leaders Simba and the runners-up Mtibwa Sugar are unbeaten at the top with 11 points a piece after playing five games.
Simba are slightly ahead with superior goal difference. This simply means any side which will stand tall from the encounter will have an opportunity to top the 16-team league with points and not by goals as it is the currently case.
The Msimbazi Street based giants will approach the game in positive mood after registering a remarkable 2-1 away victory over Stand United last Sunday while the Sugarcane growers were held to a scoreless draw by Young Africans at Uhuru Stadium in the city a week before.
On the same day, there will be another tough game at Sokoine Stadium in Mbeya where Tanzania Prisons who are placed fifth on the log table will entertain 15th- placed Stand United from Shinyanga.
Another attention puller will be on Saturday, when defending champions Young Africans will face a tricky duel away to Kagera Sugar at the Kaitaba Stadium in Bukoba. It is a venue that Yanga will be hoping to rediscover their goals scoring instincts.
They won 6-2 at the same venue last season and this will be a feat, Zambian tactician, George Lwandamina, will wish to achieve.
Sitting sixth on the log on nine points, scoring four goals and conceding two goals so far, Yanga will be eager to rediscover their winning ways after a disappointing barren draw against Mtibwa Sugar at the Uhuru Stadium on September 30th this year.
Goal shy striking force has been a shortcoming for Yanga this season, and many soccer pundits are linking it to a departure of their wing wizard, Simon Msuva, who has since joined Morocco top division side Difaa Al Jadida FC.
An early season injury to Burundian striker, Amissi Tambwe has also hit the team badly in the final third. Both Tambwe and Msuva have been instrumental for finding the back of the net for Yanga for the recent past seasons. In the 2015/2016 season Tambwe won the golden boot after scoring 21 goals, while Msuva tied up with Abraham Musa to win the golden boot last season.
Former Yanga midfielder, Thabit Bushako, said the Jangwani Street giants’ midfield is also struggling for creativity at the final third and this means that Yanga are missing virtuoso Rwandese midfielder, Haruna Niyonzima, who has crossed to their arch rivals Simba. Bushako further said Zimbabwean striker, Donald Ngoma is also struggling to hit his sharpness, after spell out, nursing injuries.
However, this does not rule Yanga out of their title defence campaign, and if history has anything to go by, Yanga are highly expected to hit form as the league takes shape. Yanga will be playing their fourth away game on October 22nd against Stand United.
Other matches to be played on Saturday include an encounter between Mtwara’s Ndanda FC and Majimaji of Songea at the Nangwanda Sijaona Stadium in Mtwara, while Ruvu Shooting will welcome Singida United at the Mabatini grounds in Mlandizi, Coast Region.
The day will also see Mwadui FC entertain Azam FC at the Kambarage Stadium in Shinyanga, while Njombe Mji will host Lipuli FC of Iringa at the Sabasaba grounds in Makambako.