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Yanga, Coastal in epic battle

Holders Yanga welcome Hemed Morocco's Coastal Union at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam, while former champions Simba will make a trip to Arusha for their date against Oljoro JKT at the Sheikh Amri Abeid Kaluta Stadium in an action packed day.

The rest of the top flight teams are also in action today at various stadia around the country. Last season's runners-up Azam visit Rhino Rangers at the Ali Hassan Mwinyi Stadium in Tabora, Mtibwa Sugar will take on Kagera Sugar at Manungu grounds in Turiani, Morogoro and JKT Ruvu host Mbeya's Tanzania Prisons at the Mabatini grounds in Mlandizi, Coast Region.

In other matches, Mbeya City will be at home against Ruvu Shooting at the Sokoine Memorial Stadium and Ashanti United will attempt to recover from a 5-1 thumping to Yanga in the opening match on Saturday as they face Mgambo Shooting at the Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga.

However, the focus of most football fans will definitely be on the matches involving the country's top three sides, Yanga, Simba and Azam. With Yanga full of confidence after their 5-1 opening day win, and Coastal Union also boasting a winning spirit after a 2-0 victory over Oljoro JKT, the clash at the state-of-the-art venue should be an exciting game.

Yanga emerged 2-0 victors in the corresponding fixture last season at the Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga and in the return leg Kenyan international midfielder Jerry Santo steered Coastal Union, who rallied from behind, to hold Yanga to a one-all draw in a game played at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, May 1, this year.

Yanga are perched at the top of the Mainland standings table courtesy of a goal feast during their opening game against newly promoted Ashanti United and despite a good show against the new comers, Yanga will need to be at their best shape to overcome Coastal Union as the latter, who most often than not, tend to raise their performance against top teams.

Yanga coach, Dutchman Ernie Brandts, was a delighted man in the wake of his side's impressive start to the season and vowed to keep their feet on the ground. The Jangwani team's striking performance showed tremendous improvement against Ashanti last Saturday after a close-season of inconsistence and Brandts will be expected to field the same front men of Jerryson Tegete, Didier Kavumbagu and Simon Msuva who will be backed by playmaker Haruna Niyonzima.

Brandts was, however, not happy with the manner at which his team conceded the goal against weak side of Ashanti's stature. However, the return of Kelvin Yondani, who was out injured, will give the defence its stability and solidity, partnering with skipper Nadir Haroub. Coastal, boasting of impressive signings this season will definitely come fire blazing and the likes of Haruna Moshi, Juma Nyoso, Jerry Santo and Uhuru Selemani will pose a great danger to Yanga.

Simba head coach Abdallah Kibaden was left confused and fuming after his side was held to a 2-2 draw by hosts and newly promoted Rhino Rangers on the first day of the new Premier League season and launched a stunning attack against the goalkeeping errors.

Against Oljoro JKT, again an adrenaline-fuelling affair, Kibaden expects a better performance from first choice custodian Ugandan Abel Dhaira, who was exposed in Tabora, as his side will be playing their second match in a row away from home.

Kibaden and his players know they must put all their past results aside and give an outstanding performance against Oljoro JKT if they are to avoid falling behind their title rivals Yanga and Azam in the early stages of the campaign.

Kibaden will be handed a timely boost with the availability of Burundian duo -- defender Gilbert Kaze and striker Amisi Tambwe -- as his charges aim to fire from all cylinders to grab maximum points.

The two sat out and watched from the stands on Saturday as their former club Vital 'O' of Burundi delayed to issue International Transfer Certificates (ITC). Elsewhere, Azam are expected to go all out against Rhino Rangers as they seek to register their first win after they were held to a 1-1 draw by Mtibwa Sugar in Morogoro last Saturday.


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Author: DAILY NEWS Reporter

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