THUNDEROUS receptions were staged for Young Africans and Simba yesterday when they invaded Tabora and Ruvuma regions ahead of their Azam Sports Federation Cup (ASFC) semifinal matches.
Yanga take on Biashara United at Ali Hassan Mwinyi Stadium in Tabora tomorrow, while Simba will face Azam at Majimaji Stadium in Songea, Ruvuma on Saturday in two heavyweight games of the competition.
Both encounters have been pegged to kick off from 3:30 pm and the two best teams will enter into the final, which will be played at the Lake Tanganyika Stadium in Kigoma. Long convoys of passionate Yanga and Simba fans were seen escorting their teams from the airport all the way to hotels, where they will stay until the completion of their missions.
From the massive turnout, it was evident that residents of these regions have not seen the two giant clubs in the country landing in their regions for a long time; hence the only way to express much love was to give them heroic welcome.
Normal businesses were briefly interrupted as many people abandoned their activities to be part of the historic reception, while coating themselves in the traditional colours of their clubs.
However, coincidentally, all the four teams which marched into the semifinals phase of ASFC are the ones occupying the top four slots of the ongoing Mainland Premier League table.
Practically, they are also the four teams likely to represent the country in CAF Champions League and CAF Confederation Cup competitions next season.
This is so, after Tanzania was cleared to parade four teams in the upcoming CAF organised club contests, which will see two teams competing in the Champions League and the other two will trade in the Confederation Cup.
Taking this into consideration, football fans expect to see good football from the two fixtures and the fight for the two tickets to venture in the final will certainly be thrilling.
From the four teams in the last four packs, Biashara United look like an underdog side, as they appear at this stage of the competition for the first time in their history. However, they are not to be underestimated at all.
The self-proclaimed ‘border soldiers’ have already proved in the top flight league this season that they are capable to challenge for big achievements and this is a good platform for them to do that.
To show their seriousness, they even defeated last season’s finalists Namungo 2-0 in the quarterfinals stage of the competition as such, they are capable to make it big.