MAINLAND Premier League leaders Young Africans have a chance to stretch their lead at the top of the pile as they face a tricky fixture against Coastal Union at Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga today.
It will be a tough call for the Jangwani Street based club, who have been experiencing turbulence in their league outings, in which, they have managed to pocket six points in their previous four matches.
Yanga stamped three stalemates against Tanzania Prisons (1-1), Mbeya City (1-1), Kagera Sugar (3-3) before winning 1-0 over Mtibwa Sugar.
Their grip of the top spot remains wobbly as traditional rivals and second placed Simba are high on their heels.
Yanga sit top of the pile on 49 points from 21 outings just four points above defending champions Simba, who are second on 45 points from 19 matches.
Cedric Kaze charges clearly know how crucial today’s match is for them since any drop of points will be detrimental in their pursuit of the league title, which has remained elusive for them in the past three seasons.
According to Yanga’s Information Officer Hassan Bumbuli, they will miss attacker Saidi Ntibazonkiza in today’s match. The Burundian import is still nursing injury and has not been featured for his side in four competitive games.
His last game before sustaining to the injury was a 1-1 draw against Tanzania Prisons at Nelson Mandela Stadium in Sumbawanga, where he scored the equaliser.
Since then, he has missed four duels against Mbeya City, Kagera Sugar, Mtibwa Sugar and Ken Gold (Azam Sports Federation Cup).
Coincidentally, they face off a side which too has vowed to hand Yanga their first league defeat of the campaign. Coastal Union officials have been quoted as saying that it will be a miracle for Yanga to leave Mkwakwani Stadium unhurt.
Yanga have always struggled to get maximum points whenever they play against Coastal Union at the Mkwakwani venue.
Coastal Union recent home match was a 2-0 win over Ihefu FC but prior to that, they suffered two away defeats against Dodoma Jiji (2-1) and JKT Tanzania (2-0) respectively.
And, against Yanga, it will present another good chance for Coastal Union to shine at home. Coastal Union Head Coach Juma Mgunda said their preparations for Yanga match are going on well and that his charges are looking sharp ahead of the clash.
“We respect Yanga because they are a good side …they lead the league, while enjoying unbeaten record but, the best judge of the match will be 90 minutes of play. “All my players are of good health to bring the required resistance versus Yanga and I believe that a team which will have ample preparations will win the encounter,” he said.
Meanwhile, visiting Azam proved their might when they silenced home side Kagera Sugar with a 2-1 win in a closely contested match at the Kaitaba Stadium here.
Left winger Bryson Raphael opened the score for Azam scoring with a 30-metre sizzling shot in the 20th minute. Four minutes later Prince Dube added the tally, capitalizsing on a defensice error.
Peter Malyanzi pulled one for Kagera Sugar in the 41st minute, when he converted a spot kick. Following the results, Azam remain third on the log with 40 points, while Kagera dropped to 12 spot on 24 points.
In the other encounter, Mwadui suffered a 1-0 defeat to Namungo at Mwadui Complex, while Gwambina drove to Highland Estate Stadium in Mbeya and successfully snaffled three important points over Ihefu by 2-1 win.
It was indeed a sad day for home teams as Ruvu Shooting lost at home – Mabatini ground in Mlandizi, Coast Region following a 2-0 loss to Dodoma Jiji.