An opener scored by Ghanaian striker, Kenneth Asamoah, an own goal by one of Mtibwa Sugar defenders and a third by winger, Shamte Ally — all coming in the second half, were enough to propel Yanga to the win and a place at the top of the standing, albeit temporarily.
Yanga, however, were a pale shadow of themselves for long spells in the game and the Jangwani Street side struggled to contain Mtibwa Sugar, which displayed spirited performance and troubled the former’s defence throughout. “I’m not happy today.
The performance of my team was not good…we made so many mistakes and allowed our opponents to possess the ball and attack,” admitted Papic shortly after the match. The Serbian tactician, however, was satisfied by securing crucial three points in the game considering that the points have helped Yanga topple rivals and league leaders, Simba, in the standing, apart from strengthening hopes of successful title defence.
Mtibwa Sugar enjoyed possession and attacked almost at will, with the team’s strikers, Said Rashid, Thomas Maurice and winger, Vincent Barnabas, becoming a threat to the Yanga defence led by centre back, Athuman Iddi ‘Chuji’ whenever the former pushed forward.
Yanga were almost made to pay for their weakness in the defence as one of the team’s defenders carelessly lost possession inside the penalty box deep in the second half, allowing a Mtibwa striker to charge towards the goal only to see Yanga keeper, Shaaban Kado, react quickly to block the striker.
Papic also expressed concern on the increase of his side’s players in the injury list, saying the situation puts the team in difficult position particularly in its preparations for the forthcoming African Champions League match against Egyptian giants, Zamalek, scheduled for February 18 at the National Stadium.
“We have three players --Nurdin Bakari, Godfrey Bonny and Rashid Gumbo --with serious injuries. Salum Telela has also suffered a serious injury today... this puts the team in difficult position in its preparation for the Zamalek match,” he said.
Mtibwa Sugar head coach, Kenyan Tom Olaba, blasted the match’s referee, Ibrahim Kidiwa, from Tanga for poor handling
of the match, saying the referee was obviously biased against Mtibwa. “It was obvious the referee was biased against my team… you all saw what happened,” a visibly frustrated Olaba said.
“The way the referee officiated in Friday’s match definitely casts doubt into the future of soccer in this country…I truly don’t believe there is an association supervising soccer in this country, going by what happened in today’s game,” he added.
Olaba noted that poor officiating was the order of the day in the past two matches that Mtibwa Sugar played against Arusha’s Oljoro JKT and Coastal Union of Tanga, in which the latter won 1-0 respectively in games played at Mtibwa’s backyard, Manungu Stadium in Turiani, Morogoro.
The Kenyan was also disappointed by his strikers’ failure to exploit numerous chances they had in either half, saying Tanzania and the rest of the East Africa region had an acute shortage of good strikers and that happens to be the biggest problem in the region’s soccer. Yanga’s rivals, Simba, who are in the second position, have the opportunity to reclaim the top spot when they host the now third-placed Azam FC in a mouth-watering duel at the National Stadium on Saturday.