Dar es Salaam. Some Vodacom Premier League (VPL) club coaches predict a tough new soccer season following the opening matches yesterday.
The League started with 12 teams featuring in the opening matches which fetched a total of eight goals. Contrary to the expectations of many football fans, the score margins for all the opening matches were slim. The highest score margin was in the encounter involving defending champions Simba Sports Club (‘Simba’) against newly-promoted Ihefu FC, which Simba won 2-1. But, the also newly-promoted Dodoma Jiji shocked Mwadui FC after winning 1-0. Namungo maintained their winning record against Coastal Union (1-0), while Biashara Mara United won 1-0 against Gwambina FC. For its part, soccer veteran Young Africans FC (‘Yanga’) could only manage a 1-1 draw against Tanzania Prisons at the Benjamin Mkapa Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
Speaking after their match, Simba’s head coach Sven Vandenbroeck said he was impressed by the standard of play by the Ihefu team, a new club to the Premier League.
“We faced strong opposition in the encounter. We were playing a team that was featuring in the league for the first time - and this portends that it will be a tough season,” said Vandenbroeck.
“Our target was to win the match and collect three points: a mission accomplished,” he said.
Yanga’s newest head coach, ZlatkoKrmpotic, said that, although his team dominated their match against Tanzania Prisons, the level of the players’ fitness was not good enough. Admitting that Tanzania Prisons’ players were tough, he said this has given him a clear picture of premier league matches in Tanzania.
“There has been no easy team so far. We need to stretch our muscles in the next match against Mbeya City. Seems my players - especially the Tanzanians - are not capable of playing 90 minutes due to low fitness levels,” Krmpotic said.
In another development, KMC beat Mbeya City 4-0 to take the lead of the league in the match played at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam.