Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Yanga close gap at top, Simba eye Azam scalp

Young Africans fans cheer the Mainland giants

Young Africans fans cheer the Mainland giants during the Mainland Premier League match against Njombe Mji at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam yesterday. Yanga won 4-0. PHOTO | SAID KHAMIS 

By Majuto Omary @majutoy2k

Dar es Salaam. Obrey Chirwa took his goal tally to 10 in the Mainland Premier League with a second half hat-trick to steer Young Africans to a 4-0 win against Njombe Mji at the Uhuru Stadium yesterday.

The Zambian striker was the star performer, beating Mji defenders almost at will to move within two goals of Simba striker Emmanuel Okwi in the race for Golden Boot.

Following the victory, Yanga have climbed to second with 34 points, four adrift of leaders Simba and one ahead of third-placed Azam.

Yanga, needing a win to wrest the second spot from the ice cream makers, had a series of chances to break the stalemate in the first half with Pius Buswita, Chirwa, Papy Tshishimbi and Emmanuel Martine failing to hit the target.

They ought to have gone one up in the 27th minute when Buswita, with only goalkeeper Rajabu Mbululo to beat, saw his shot go straight into the hands of the goalie.

Another chance for the hosts to go one up came in the 35th minute when Tshishimbi broke through, only to see his close range shot go a few centimetres wide.

Two minutes later, Gadiel Michael’s shot was bravely cleared by the goalkeeper Mbululo as the Jangwani Street giants pressed for a goal.

After a wobbly start, Njombe were a more dangerous side in the last six minutes of the first half. They fluffed two chances, the culprits being Ditram Nchimbi and Ethiene Ngiladjoe. Yanga broke the deadlock a minute into the second half through Chirwa off a Buswita pass.

The goal seemed to frustrate Njombe players as, from then on, Yanga took command of the game. Four minutes after the hour mark, Chirwa came into the picture again, this time through a penalty.

Yanga were awarded the penalty after Njombe defender handled the ball in penalty box in desperate efforts to clear a goal-bound shot.

They scored the third goal in the 68th minute through Emmanuel Martine before Chirwa sealed the score a few minutes to the final whistle.

Meanwhile, Njombe Mji head coach Mrage Kabange has laughed off suggestions that he is pressure following his team’s dismal performance in the league.

Mji have been far from impressive this season. They sit at the bottom of the league with 13 points from 17 games.

“I try to continue to work to improve different aspects of my players, but today I think our performance was poor,” he said in his post-match interview.

The league continues today when title favourites Simba and Azam fa off at the National Stadium.