The record top-flight winners surrendered their crown following two consecutive defeats at the hands of Mwanza’s Toto African and Kagera Sugar last week, but bounced back as they thrashed Polisi Dodoma 3-1 at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on Sunday.
Sitting on third with 46 points from 24 games, there is no way the Dar es Salaam based club could even end the season as runners-up, which would have guaranteed them a place in next year’s CAF Confederation Cup.
Azam FC, who are currently in second place, have so far collected 50 points but the tally is likely to increase by three points pending on the decision by the Premier League Committee following the abandonment of Sunday’s encounter between Azam and Mtibwa Sugar, in which the latter refused to continue with the game with two minutes to play as they protested a penalty decision.
Nonetheless, Yanga are expected to go all in search for a victory the same way they did against Polisi Dodoma
last time out and restore some of the lost pride for the sake of the team’s supporters who are still struggling to come to terms with their team’s uncharacteristic performance this season.
Hosts Oljoro, with 29 points-- six off the drop line-- look secure from any relegation threat, unless a miracle ensues in the closing fixtures, but the Arushabased army wardens could still go out there eyeing Yanga scalp.
After a remarkable first round campaign, Oljoro, who are making their debut appearance in the league, finally lost steam in the second round as they slipped down the perking order to rest on ninth position, but would cherish the opportunity to finish on a high and look forward to their second season.
Elsewhere, JKT Ruvu will be trading tackles with their Ruvu Shooting brothers at the Chamazi Stadium on the outskirts of Dar es Salaam, with nothing but pride to play for since the two National Service-owned teams, on seventh and eighth place respectively, are certain of staying in the top flight football.
The penultimate round of the Vodacom Premier League will be completed with four fixtures. On Saturday with Coastal Union playing host to Kagera Sugar of Bukoba at the Mkwakwani Stadium in Tanga and African Lyon taking on Mtibwa Sugar of Morogoro at the Chamazi Stadium.
Then, on April 30, Azam will be trying to keep their title bid intact with a duel against Toto African at the latter’s home venue, Chamazi Stadium and the following day would see Villa Squad making the last but one attempt to escape the axe by scooping maximum points against Oljoro JKT.
While the league heads towards the final lap, Young Africans’ uncharacteristic poor run of form affected the club’s revenue following a poor gate collection during last Saturday’s clash with Polisi Dodoma at the National Stadium, in which only 5,666,000/- was realized from a nominal crowd of 1,635 spectators.
As a result, Yanga and the visiting Polisi Dodoma received 193,858.47/- each. Meanwhile, Yanga head coach Serbian Kostadin Papic has been warned that he would have to see through his contract with the club up to next month.
Papic hinted on Monday that his contract with the club was set to elapse at the end of this month, meaning he would not be available to guide the team in its final top flight match against rivals Simba SC at the National Stadium in Dar es Salaam on May 5. Yanga Chairman, Lloyd Nchunga clarified on Tuesday that Papic’s contract ends at the end of the season, which is on May 5 and not otherwise.