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Not title chase alone, restart is also relegation battle

PREMIER League returns tomorrow and so are its spectacular actions in both home an away venues. Will Simba maintain their solo run, or will their key ‘hitman’ Meddie Kagere continue firing lethal rockets can among the questions to be answered during the league’s restart.

Altogether, sports fans expect to see Young Africans doing more wonders this time around banking mostly on their Ghanaian showman, Bernard Morrison, though he didn’t play the team’s last friendly match against KMC at the Uhuru Stadium.

But to the rest of teams, besides a chase for the Premier League silverware, the relegation battle sounds bigger than it is imagined prior to the hiatus. From what we see in the Premier League log when the league was suspended, one of the four top-placed teams can win the championship race with top riders Simba looking a clear favourite.

The team’s closest challengers; Azam, Young Africans and Namungo FC can make a surprise grab of the title, but they should pray that Simba lose their nine remaining games, something which is very close to impossible. However, the best from the resumption, according to the standings seems to be a fight against relegation, which will almost involve about 90 per cent of the teams.

Only Simba with 71 points are 100 per cent sure of playing in the next season league and perhaps Azam with 54 points and Yanga with 51 points, but the rest go down to the pit if they don’t play at resumption. Bottom-placed Singida United who have reaped 15 points from 29 games, with luck, they can harvest 42 points if they win their nine remaining matches.

They will be at par with the eighth-placed Tanzania Prisons, ninth-placed Kagera Sugar both with 41 points prior to league’s hiatus. Mbao FC with 23 points can reach 50 points and climb up to the fourth place if they win all nine matches.

They will be breathing fire on Namungo FC who were placed fourth before the league’s suspension. In short the league’s resumption will be both; A fight for the league’s diadem and on the other side a fierce fight against relegation that aims to kick out four teams so that the league remains with only 16 teams.

While we are happy to see the league back caution and strict adherence to safety measures must be respected as everything is in place for the Premier League to resume tomorrow in the various venues.

Unlike the normal leagues which fans brightly colour the game, this time they will enjoy the good game in accordance to safety directives, all meant to keep them safe from the coronavirus threat.

While opinions vary from sport to sport or nation to nation, one thing seems clear: Social distancing is a sure bet when the league officially returns, hence fans and officials governing the game must respect this or supervise its implementation.

We are delighted to see the government, after holding lengthy talks with sports bodies and health experts, publicly revealed safety plans and directives that will keep league matches away from coronavirus threat. Tanzania has approached well the measures against virus infection.

Using every-other turnstile, allowing fans into the stadium in sections, letting them out row by row and minimising person-to-person contact, all were well detailed alongside washing hands with running water and covering nose and mouth with a mask.

We caution teams that solely depend on gate collection that financial imperatives should not override safety concerns when the league resumes. But we still warn that the safety of players and other stakeholders must be foolproof or else the Premier League restart might end in catastrophe.

The organisers must ensure fans or supporters are sparsely placed to guarantee their safety and that of players and officials. We end up thanking the government and sports bodies for realising the danger of the Covid-19 and for joining a campaign to fight the further spread of the deadly virus.

SIMBA’S zeal to claim both the Premier League ...


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