Title battle promises to go down to the wire

Friday May 13 2022
NBC rivals
By The Citizen Reporter

Dar es Salaam. Football analysts and coaches have said the Mainland Tanzania Premier League is still unpredictable, although two teams are in the race of winning silverware and securing their space at continental club tournaments while others are struggling to avoid relegation.

So far traditional rivals Young Africans (Yanga) and Simba are ‘fighting’ for the title while a relegation battle is now for four teams.

As per the current league standings, Mbeya Kwanza, who are placed at the bottom with 21 points, and Ruvu Shooting, who are 15th with 22 points, are in the relegation zone.

The league log also shows that Tanzania Prisons and Biashara United Mara, who are placed 14th and 13th respectively after each collecting 23 points, may face a relegation playoff.

If relegated, both teams will have to play matches against the third and fourth placed teams from the First Division League (Championship).

If the teams lose the games, they will be relegated to the Championship League.

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However, the teams can avoid the relegation zone if they record good results in their remaining matches.

Records show that, with the exception of Yanga and Simba, either team can be demoted to the Championship League. Yanga are at the top of the league table with 57 points while Simba, who are the defending champions, are placed second with 49 points. As Yanga have already qualified for CAF club championships, Simba need only four points to book their spot at continental club championships.

A famous football analyst in the country, Kennedy Mwaisabula, said it is too early to predict teams to be relegated to the Championship League and even the winner of the league title.

“You can see how each round makes changes in the league log. If teams record victories, you will see those teams moving various positions up with tight point gaps.

“So the league is still unpredictable for the teams that will be demoted and even for the team that will win the title,” said Mwaisabula.

He said Simba are putting pressure on Yanga because the defending champions have managed to cut the point gap with their rivals from 15 to eight points now.

“This means that Yanga have to put their league trend right after recording goalless draws in three consecutive matches while Simba are still recording victories.

“If the Msimbazi Street giants maintain their winning streak, they may leapfrog Yanga at the top,” he said.

Mbeya City head coach Mathias Lule echoed Mwaisabula’s comment as he commended his players for their fighting spirit to sit in the fourth spot with 31 points.