YOUNG Africans’ bid to re-establish a three-point lead at the top of the Premier League table was dealt to a blow on Tuesday after losing 2-1 to the bottom-placed Ihefu at Highland Estates Stadium in Mbarali, Mbeya.
The battle between the leaders and the bottom-placed ended the other way round as Ihefu stunned the leaders to stamp a very unexpected result.
Beating Yanga earned Ihefu their third victory and now they parade 11 points from 14-game outings.
The interesting part of the game was the re-union with the former Yanga Assistant Coach Juma Mwambusi who now trains Ihefu trainer Juma Mwambusi who is going to try the victory, his team stamped disappointed his former employers.
Ihefu also houses the ex-Yanga players; Papy Tshishimbi, Obrey Chirwa and Raphael Daudi whose experience helped their team against Yanga yesterday.
The real trouble maker yesterday was Never Tigere who joined the Mbarali-based team after a successful career with Azam.
Last time the defending champions lost the game in top flight league was in April, 2021 where they lost 1-0 to Azam courtesy of Prince Dube late striker at Benjamini Mkapa Stadium.
It is also the end of the unbeaten run for the team’s tactician Tunisian Nasredine Nabi who was behind the longest unbeaten run in country ‘s football since he took over from care taker Juma Mwambusi.
The Juma Mwambusi men looked determined to end Yanga’s unbeaten run from the opening minute as their center forward Jaffar Kibaya came closer to score in the 2nd minute but Djigui Diarra was alert to clear off the danger.
Playing with many men behind their back Ihefu created the wall which gave Yanga difficult time to break however the green and yellow was able to register the opener through Yanick Bangala’s header in 8th minute connecting home a well taken freekick by Joyce Lomalisa following Nicolaus Wadada’s foul on Dennis Nkane.
In 13th minute Yanga’s midfielder Zawadi Mauya was dispossessed leading to the counter attack in which Jaffar Kibaya failed to finish as his shoot went wide.
In 16th minute Fiston Mayele’s freekick hit Ihefu’s crossbar and again in 18 Juma Nyosso of Ihefu did a wonderful job to block Mayele’s attack on his goal.
In 22th minute Jaffar Kibaya delayed Hassan Mwasapili’s cross on Yanga’s box and it fell on Diarra’s hands and in 32th minute Mayele who didn’t play well yesterday missed a golden chance to score from Tuisila Kisinda’s cross.
Yanga’s Dickson Job was shown a yellow card for fouling Kibaya and eventually earned Ihefu’s freekick in which Never Teger scored the equaliser.
In the second half, Yanga’s tactician Nasreddine Nabi made changes by bringing in Stephan Aziz Ki for Zawadi Mauya and Jesus Moloko for Dennis Nkane.
Following the changes Yanga managed to launch some series of attacks but Ihefu’s defenders were alert and managed to clear the danger.
In the 50th minute Mayele once again missed a glorious chance following a Azizi Ki cross and in the 52nd minute Hassan Mwasapili of Ihefu was shown a yellow card for fouling Moloko.
The goal that ended Yanga’s unbeaten streak was scored by Jaffar Kibaya in 61st minute heading home Nicolas Wadada’s corner.
Yanga’s coach Nabi reacted by bringing in in Gael Bigirimana for Khalid Aucho, Kibwana Shomari for Ibrahim Bacca and Clement Mzize for Kisinda, but the changes could not have an impact on the scoreboard as Yanga lost their first game of the campaign.