THE exciting Mainland Premier League title race is beginning to take shape and once again, giants Simba, Young Africans and Azam are the breakaway sides.
The three lead the pack leaving other 13 teams scrambling at the mid table while other four battling to rid themselves of the relegation zone.
Defending champions Simba SC seem to be on the right track in their title defence campaign as they sit top of league table with 53 points from 21 outings.
However, Simba, who finished the first round at the top of the pile, kicked off the second round of the league on a wrong foot after 1-0 defeat at the hands of JKT Tanzania at the Uhuru Stadium in Dar es Salaam a week ago.
They managed to rediscover their winning formula with a 3-0 victory over Mtibwa Sugar at the Jamhuri Stadium in Morogoro on Tuesday.
Their closer competitor in the title race Azam are on 44 points from 21 games.
Yanga are positioned third with 38 points after playing 19 matches and they can tie on 44 points with Azam if they win their two matches in hand but will remain nine points behind leaders Simba.
Looking at the table and with almost 17 rounds remaining, it is clear that the title race is still open not only to the three font runners but to mid-table teams as well.
On papers, Simba are in a better position to defend their title and win it for the third time in a row.
However, the Msimbazi Street giants will need to keep the form and performance they showed against Mtibwa Sugar to win matches as they come.
Any slip up for Sven Vandenbroeck charges will give energy to other pace setters, especially Yanga and Azam to charge up for the title.
This weekend, all Simba, Yanga and Azam will be in action, facing tricky tests.
Simba will be away in Iringa to face Lipuli FC at the Samora Stadium, while Yanga and Azam will be at home in Dar es Salaam hosting Tanzania Prisons and Coastal Union respectively.
Apart from the three horses’ title race, the battle of escaping relegation is even more intense for four teams – bottom placed Singida United, Mbeya City, Mwadui FC and Mbao FC, each battling hard to crawl away from relegation.
However, the battle is not only for those four, who are placed deep into the relegation zone, because in total, four teams will be demoted into the First Division League (FDL) automatically at the end of the season.
Apart from the four teams that will be automatically relegated, two other teams will also be forced to be engaged in playoffs games with the other two teams from the FDL to determine if they survive from the relegation and this must send shivers on those teams placed near the relegation line.
It means, some teams in the mid table from 16th placed Ndanda FC on 19 points and fourth placed Namungo FC on 36 points are also not safe from relegation threat.
Other teams in the mid table are Coastal Union, Polisi Tanzania, Lipuli, Biashara United, Ruvu Shooting, Alliance FC, Mtibwa Sugar, KMC, Kagera Sugar and JKT Tanzania.