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Premiership turns relegation-battle festival

THE title race party has almost ended now following Simba’s away 2-0 win over Mbeya City on Wednesday, and what remains in the league beauty is the fierce battle to shrug off relegation threat.

The title race, besides Simba’s feat in Mbeya was further weakened by Azam’s loss to Kagera Sugar at Kaitaba Stadium in Bukoba.

Azam, who are Simba’s closest challengers, hence losing three points in Kagera, makes Azam, who have notched 58 points, will carve 79 points if they win all their seven remaining matches.

Singida United who suffered a 3-1 loss to Mtibwa Sugar are the first to grab relegation ticket while five other teams, also placed relegation red line, don’t seem to have done well in their recent matches.

Mbao FC who laboured to beat Coastal Union 1-0 at CCM Kirumba Stadium in Mwanza, are still in danger zone at the 19th place. The loss to Simba, plunged Mbeya City further down at 18th place, hence the Mbeya-side will be among the teams which herald relegation battle in the remaining eight matches.

Only teams that are away from the red line will have a pressure less resumption, but still it is hard to tell who will be relegation-proof at the moment.

From the matches staged in the various venues yesterday Azam, Young Africans and Namungo FC can’t now make a surprise grab of the title, as Simba seem to be very close to the title, hence making their rivals’ chase a mission impossible.

However, the best from the resumption, according to the standings seem to be a fight against relegation, which will almost involve about 90 percent of the teams.

Only Simba with 78 points are 100 percent sure of playing in the next season league and perhaps Azam with 58 points and Yanga or Namungo with over 50 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, are already out after losing to Mtibwa. In short the league’s resumption will be hearing more about a fight against relegation and not title anymore with Simba’s success and Azam loss watering everything down.

But still despite being absorbed by a fight against relegation, 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 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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Author: MIGUEL SULEIMAN

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