CURTAIN for the 2019/2020 Mainland Premier League season opens today, with the giants Simba, Young Africans and Azam on the sidelines. The three sides together with KMC are engaged in CAF Champions League and Confederation Cup battles and will be in league action mid this week.
Vodacom Tanzania was due to be unveiled as the league sponsors, signing a three year deal worth 9bn/- The new season promises much competition and excitement and football fans across the country are whetting their appetite ahead of the league season to see which team will claim the two spots for the CAF Champions league in 2020/2021 season.
The league comprises 20 teams including two newly promoted sides, Namungo FC from Ruangwa, Lindi region and Polisi Tanzania from Kilimanjaro.
Certainly, much focus will still remain on defending champions Simba SC, record league champions Young Africans as well as the Federation Cup winners Azam.
A taste of what to expect from this year’s topflight league was exhibited last Saturday, when holders Simba beat Federation Cup winners Azam 4-2 in the Community Shield encounter at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
It was a tactical game as players from both sides showed great ability although they still need time together to form a good pattern, especially for Simba, who have made changes and increased competition in its squad.
In total, five venues across the country will be busy today from 4:00pm hosting the first batch of the premier league games with Sokoine Memorial Stadium in Mbeya being the centre of attraction, staging the first derby of the season whereby Mbeya City will go head to head against Tanzania Prisons. Debutants Polisi Tanzania will feel the taste of the top flight league as they play host to Coastal Union of Tanga at the Moshi Co-operative University (MoCU) Stadium in Moshi.
The former will have to prove how good they are prepared after making headlines following their 2-0 triumph over Yanga in a friendly match played recently. Other new comers in the league Namungo FC will be at the Majaliwa Stadium in Ruangwa, Lindi entertaining Ndanda FC, while Biashara United will tussle up against Kagera Sugar at Karume Stadium in Musoma. CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza will be on fire as Mbao FC lock horns with Alliance FC in a sparkling derby from the Rock city.
Tomorrow, two games will be played whereby Lipuli FC will take on Mtibwa Sugar at Samora Stadium in Iringa, while Mwadui FC will confront Singida United respectively at the Kambarage Stadium in Shinyanga. On Monday, one match will take place involving KMC against Azam FC at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam.
As curtain rolls open today the Tanzania Premier League Board (TPLB) has insisted that they will not alter the fixtures. TPLB Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Boniface Wambura made clarification after Young Africans had written them to have their league opener clash set on Wednesday next week rescheduled.
Yanga face Ruvu Shooting on Wednesday at Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam just four days after their away CAF Champions League, preliminary round second leg against Township Rollers slated tomorrow in Gaborone, Botswana. Wambura insisted that TPBL will not entertain any fixture changes as they want to avoid complications that happened last season, whereby the league fixture was frequently re- drafted.