Dar es Salaam. Azam FC and Simba SC registered victories in their 2015/16 Vodacom Premier League season opening matches played yesterday.
Simba, who were away to African Sports, plundered a 1-0 win over the spirited Tanga side at Mkwakwani Stadium while Azam FC recorded a 2-1 victory over Tanzania Prisons at Azam Complex. Hamis Kiiza was the hero for Simba after scoring the lone goal in the 56th minute. He completed neatly a pass from Mussa Hassan “Mgosi”. The hosts fought doggedly for an equaliser, but they paid the price for lack of precision in front of the Simba goal.
At Chamazi, Azam opened the scoring in the 42nd minute through Ivorian forward Kipre Tchetche and went into the breather leading 1-0. However, after the recess, Tanzania Prisons came back firing on both cylinders and drew parity on the hour mark through Jeremia Juma. Azam retook control of the game afterwards as the Mbeya-based team succumbed to the hosts’ onslaughts. Farid Mussa broke Prisons hearts four minutes before the final whistle with a superb winner.
At Nangwanda Sijaona ground, Ndanda FC forced a 1-1 draw with Mgambo JKT with the hosts opening the scoring through Atupele Green before Fully Maganga salvaged a point for the army owned outfit.
Mbeya City, who bragged to kick off the league with a bang on Friday, failed to use their home ground well after slumping to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Kagera Sugar.
Jerome Lembele planted home the winner, silencing thousands of Mbeya City fans who had thronged the Sokoine Stadium.
Toto African handed Mwadui FC baptism of fire at Kirumba Stadium after Miraji Athumani scored the solitary goal to give the home side maximum points. In Shinyanga, Stand United suffered a 1-0 defeat to Mtibwa Sugar while Majimaji FC defied the odds to down JKT Ruvu 1-0. Peter Mapunda scored the winning goal.
The reigning champions, Young Africans, will begin their pursuit for back-to-back titles this evening when they welcome Coastal Union at the National Stadium.
The visitors will be hard-pressed to avenge last season’s 8-0 defeat at the same venue while Yanga will be looking to maintain their impressive record at the 60,000-seater facility.
Yanga head coach Hans van Pluijm, who masterminded last season’s biggest victory over Coastal, declared his team ready for the new season.
“We beat them 1-0 and 8-0 last season, but we are not going to face the same team. They bolstered their ranks significantly, so it will be a tough match,” said the Dutchman. “However, the boys are mentally and physically ready for the challenge and I am confident that they will record a victory.”
Coastal Union head coach Jackson Mayanja promised a good game, adding that his boys will be on a revenge mission.
“It is always tough to open the season with a match against the reigning champions. It isn’t going to be easy at all, but we have prepared well enough to avenge that humiliating loss,” he said.