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Goal galore or barren, see surprise packages

CHANGES are imminent after a four-week stoppage of the Mainland top flight league which resumes this weekend in various venues.

The anticipated changes in the second round of the league will, among other things tell if the Dar es Salaam giants will continue occupying the top five spot or the bottom-placed Mbeya City and Ihefu will shrug off relegation scare.

At the end of the round 18, the country’s giants Simba, Yanga and Azam were occupying the top three spots and three have heavily armed themselves ahead of the league business.

Foreign players from Zambia, Burundi, Zimbabwe, Ghana, Uganda have heralded the league’s suspension which luckily collided with mini transfer window.

Big names include Fiston Abdul Razak and Saido Ntibazonkiza who have reinforced Young Africans squad while the top snatch at Simba camp is a Zimbabwean Perfect Chikwende while Ugandan goalkeeper, Mathias Kigonya a spectacular signing at Azam camp.

Also expected to come back rejuvenated are players in Taifa Stars squad that played in CHAN finals in Cameroon. Among those who made big impact include Baraka Majogoro who scored the equalizer against Guinea, Namungo’s Carlos Protas and Farid Mussa who scored the winner against Namibia in the Stars second match of CHAN.

Should we expect goal galore or barren draws, the second round will be a do or die affair as it will require a fierce battle for a team to get good results.

Before the league resumption, the results of the last five matches of the league went Simba vs Yanga race. However Simba stand an edge above Yanga, and the Msimbazi street boys have slightly downsized their traditional rivals, Yanga in the last five-match run.

Simba have beaten the Premier League leaders Young Africans in the last five matches despite being placed second when the league was suspended to two weeks ago. Simba are the masters of the last-five game run that gave them 15 points they garnered after winning all five games.

Their traditional rivals Yanga are second, having collected 13 points from four wins and one draw. Biashara United and JKT Tanzania have tied at the third place after each collecting 10 points from the five games. The two teams have each won three games, drew once and lost once.

Biashara United are placed 4th on the league standings while JKT Tanzania are lowly placed at 12th position. Mtibwa Sugar are fifth overall with 9 points as they have collected 9 points in their last five-game run. They won three matches consequently before losing the last two matches.

Though they are at the bottom of the table with 13 points, Ihefu had a fair performance in their last five matches. They have managed to pocket 7 points after winning two games, drawing once and losing two other games. Namungo, who are placed 15th were the best in draws in their last five- game race.

The Lindi-based team has managed to stamp a draw in each of five games they played prior to the league suspension. They have managed to haul only five points instead of targeted 15 points. Second from the bottom are Mbeya City, the team that had the dismal show in the last five.

Mbeya City have managed only three points after drawing three games and losing two of them. Gwambina FC who have also reaped only three points are win-less in their last five games after drawing three and losing two games. Another Dar es Salaam giant; Azam have managed to reap seven points by one victory and four draws under the newly appointed Zambian coach, George Lwandamina.

Still they are among the top placed teams that also challenge giants Yanga and Simba for 2020-21 League title. They are third-placed after collecting 32 points from 17 games.

Surprise packages are expected to herald the league resumption as most of teams will be coming back well drilled and well- armed.

The Premier League was suspended for over three weeks to enable Taifa Stars players participate in African Nations Championship (CHAN) finals in Cameroon.

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Author: MIGUEL SULEYMAN

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