THE Vodacom Premier League (VPL) has reached at a very stage with a huge battle being fought by two-giants; Young Africans and Simba.
The chase has turned a two- giant affair after the third contenders, Azam dropped the chase midway. At this juncture, it is a bit hard to predict about the would-be champions considering the fact that the gap that separates the front runners is not big enough, thus making a possible change on the way.
However, as it is the tradition, some sports fans in the country have already come into conclusion on which team is likely to clinch the 2016-17 VPL silverware basing on how they see the unfolding of the league. Frankly, it is always easy on paper to guess about the winner, but on the ground, football is decided at the end of ninety minutes and not otherwise.
Currently, Yanga lead the Premier League table with 49 points out of 21 games played with the team hammering Stand United 4-0 in their last game at the National Stadium. Their close pursuers, Simba are breathing fire close behind after positing 48 points.
Their 3-0 win over Majimaji in Songea convinced renewed efforts to claim this year’s title. The third position occupants are Azam FC who have notched 37 points from and they trail leaders Yanga and Simba with twelve and eleven points respectively.
A better goal average places Azam above Kagera Sugar, who have also grabbed 37 points to settle at the fourth position. On the other side of the chase for a silverware, a fight against relegation has also been interesting to watch.
Five teams are on the danger zone and fighting hard for their premiership survival. At the bottom of the table there are JKT Ruvu Stars who have scrapped only 16 points from 21 games. Slightly above them are Ndanda FC who are placed at the 15th position having attained 19 points also from 21 matches. At the 14th place, Majimaji have managed to collect 20 points in their bag while Toto African has also accumulated 20 points but superior goal average put them above Majimaji.
Africa Lyon are also not safe as far as fighting for survival next season is concerned. They have so far claimed 21 points from twenty one games and they occupy 12th spot.
At the middle of the table, the exciting drama is also happening. Mbao FC are on 9th position with 26 points and Ruvu Shooting Stars are placed 8th having attained 27 points from 21 games. Three teams namely Mwadui FC, Mbeya City Council and Stand United occupy positions 9th, 8th and 7th in that order with each having maximum of 25 points.
Tanzania Prisons is on 6th place with 29 points whereas Mtibwa Sugar FC sits comfortably at 5th spot after pocketed 31 points from nineteen games. Having obtained 37 points, Kagera Sugar FC occupies 4th position with only goal difference separating them against Azam FC.
But, the fans of the two clubs leading the league table, each believe on his or her side to claim the silverware. “Simba SC will be declared winner after Yanga FC play their difficult games against Azam FC and Simba SC.
We expect Yanga to lose both matches which will be an advantage for Simba,” said Suleiman Peter, an ardent fan of Simba. “Let Yanga fans celebrate presently for leading the league table while for us Simba followers we shall celebrate winning the cup at the end of the season,” said Suleiman.
On the other hand, his counterpart for Yanga FC John Richard insisted that his team will continue to defend the championship for the upcoming five years. “Yanga only thinks about winning trophies and not other things. They (Simba SC) were eight points clear on top of the league, but now they are trailing us with a single point.
Am sure that the points will increase for our team and leave our opponents very far,” said Richard. He added: “Our rivals (Simba SC) have most of their games outside Dar es Salaam hence they are likely to lose a good number of points comparing with us.”