Dar es Salaam. Tanzania’s oldest clubs, Yanga and Simba, which are emblematic to the country’s football, face a strong competition in the SportPesa Cup, which will kick off on January 22 and run through January 27 at the 60,000-seater National Stadium.
Yanga, the record winner of the domestic league, will open their campaign by taking on Kenya’s Kariobangi Sharks on January 22 while the nemesis will lock horns with AFC Leopards of Kenya at the same venue the next evening.
Before Yanga dare the Sharks, Mbao FC will be playing their trickiest match as they take on the defending Champions, Gor Mahia of Kenya at the same stadium while Singida United will square off against Bandari FC on January 23rd. The winners between Gor Mahia and Mbao will play the winner between Kariobangi Sharks and Yanga on January 25 while the winner between Singida United and Bandari will face the winner from the Simba-FC Leopards encounter.
The third place play-off and final of the tournament will be held on January 27 from 2pm and 4.15pm respectively.
The winner of the 2019 SportPesa Cup edition will pocket $30,000 (approximately Sh68 million) while the second and third runners-up will receive $10,000 (Sh23 million) and $7,500 (Sh18 million) respectively.
The team, which will finish fourth will go home with $5,000 (Sh13 million) while all teams, which will qualify for the quarter finals will receive $2,500 (Sh6 million) apiece.
Apart from the prize money, the winner of the tournament will secure an opportunity of playing against a prominent English Premier League team, Everton FC.
Gor Mahia has won the trophy twice and last year, they travelled to England where they played Everton and tumbled to a 4-0 loss at the Goodison Park Stadium.
In 2017, Gor lost to the same team 2-1 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Tanzania Football Federation (TFF) Competition Director Salum Madadi said preparations for the tournament were complete and called upon soccer fans to attend all the matches in big numbers.
The director of Administration and Compliance of SportPesa Tanzania, Abbas Tarimba, also urged football lovers to throng the stadium and cheer their teams.
Tarimba also called on Tanzanian representatives to take the tournament seriously in order to boost their chances of winning the trophy for the first time.